Water, rest, shade and sanitation: training to maintain a healthy and productive workforce

19th February 2021

Sugar cane cutters work in the fields and take rest breaks under tents with water containers at Ingenio San Antonio, or the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua on February 29, 2020. Photo taken by Ed Kashi.

Cutting sugarcane requires high physical exertion under intense heat which is considered a high health risk. However, key changes on farms during harvest can help to protect workers’ health.

Bonsucro has partnered with Vinmonopolet to offer training on implementing a water, rest and shade protocol and sanitation to protect workers from chronic kidney disease. The training will be led by Ilana Weiss, one of the experts working with the Adelante Initiative, a partnership between La Isla Network, Bonsucro, Ingenio San Antonio, the Nicaraguan Sugar Producers’ Association (CNPA) and Fair Trade USA. The training will take place online in Spanish on 4 May 2021. A second session will take place in English later, details of which will be available soon.

During the session, participants will learn:

  • The risks of working under intense heat and the importance of keeping your workforce healthy for optimal efficiency.
  • The importance of evaluating workload when planning heat stress interventions.
  • How to provide the correct quantities of water, rest and shade to keep workers healthy and productive – examples of best practice will be shared.
  • The best practices in relation to sanitation with accessible and practical solutions.

You can sign up to the training in Spanish here. Recordings of the training sessions will be available on our YouTube channel afterwards.

Vinmonopolet is a Norwegian government-owned alcohol retailer. In addition to aiming to limit the negative effects of alcohol in Norway, Vinmonopolet aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals and considers decent work, protecting human rights as well as the climate and environment in its global supply chains.

With 206 rum products in their portfolio, Bonsucro members are likely to supply sugarcane and/or molasses to several of the products sold by Vinmonopolet. In the future, Vinmonopolet may ask if sub-suppliers have attended this training as heat stress is deemed one of the highest risk areas to human health in their supply chains. Therefore, we encourage members to attend this training.