Field Group - Eye Protection

Farmworker Eye Protection

This pilot project was conducted to understand the perceived barriers to the use of available eye protective wear by orchard pruners, and evaluate work activities and practices that may place workers at increased risk of eye injury. Growers and 32 male farm workers from three farms participated in the project. All three growers supplied and mandated the use of protective eyewear. All workers in the study reported wearing eye protection most if not all the time, and said they believed that protective eyewear was worth wearing even if it slowed them down a bit. Both growers and workers agreed on the attributes of eyewear that would improve motivation to wear it. These attributes included anti-fog lenses, comfort, stylishness, non-scratch lenses, polarized lenses, and good air circulation. Side shields were also important, because growers perceived that workers were more likely to be injured when turning in the trees while pruning. Results of the project included a graduate student thesis, "An Assessment of Barriers to Use of Eyewear Among Seasonal Apple Orchard Workers in the Yakima Valley," and a technical report.