EDGEFIELD COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - People who work at Costa Layman Farm got health screenings and safety education - all for free. Nearly 300 workers participated in the on-site health fair run by Augusta University nursing students.
Farm workers got dental, vision, heart care and more check ups they wouldn’t normally have access to. It gives students experience by exposing them to patients of different cultures, who work in various environments.
A medical interpreter was at the event because a majority of the farm’s employees speak Spanish.
“What can happen if there’s something lost in translation? A lot of things can happen. The wrong diagnoses can happen, so that’s the biggest thing, You want to make sure that how they get diagnosed is exactly what they need," said Jose Negron, a medical interpreter who has volunteered at the event for the past four years.
Nationwide, agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations, according to program director Dr. Pam Cromer. Employees, at this farm and others, experience falls, dust particles, adverse eye conditions, muscular-skeletal issues - due to lifting - and allergic reactions to fertilizer. She said students have to do a complete assessment on the workers’ environment. It teaches students what mechanisms the farm has put in place to protect employees, such as protective equipment while they’re out in the field, providing water on an hourly basis, cooling stations and even changing hours of operation depending on the climate. Dr. Cromer said, based on that information, students advised workers to bend their knees when picking up heavy things, wear protective glasses, showing workers various stretching exercises and more.
“Many of them will come up to me individually and tell me how much they appreciate it. So, you can see the smiles on their face and if they were not happy with it, they would not continue year after year. And the numbers keep growing," said Dr. Cromer.
The partnership between the farm and AU has been going on for 14 years. According to a news release from the university, this program has provided more than 5,000 screening to farmworkers.