Vigil will be held in memory of worker who died in farm accident

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The father of a worker from Mexico who died in an Aug. 29 farm accident will be in Albion on Friday for a vigil and rally in memory of his son.

Luis Daniel Larios Hernandez was 25 when he died late last summer. He was part of a work crew employed by Root Brothers that was “on loan” to Kirby Farm and was irrigating a field of tomato plants.

Larios Hernandez was standing next to a parked farm truck when a second truck (also parked and un-occupied) rolled down a slight incline and struck the victim, pinning him between the two vehicles, according to the report from Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

Larios Hernandez is survived by his wife Teresa and 4-year-old daughter Citlalli of Jalisco, Mexico, according to the Worker Justice Center of NY.

The organization has planned an 11:30 a.m. vigil on Friday for Larios Hernandez at the First Presbyterian Church of Albion. Larios Hernandez’s father, Daniel Larios Hernandez, is attending the vigil.

He will also be part of a press conference outside Root Brothers Farms at 12:30 p.m. at 12595 West Lee Rd. Larios Hernandez and the Worker Justice Center of NY will also visit the site of the fatal accident at 3400 Densmore Rd. at 1 p.m.

The Worker Justice Center of NY wants to highlight the danger for many workers on the farms, said Carly Fox, a worker organizer with the Justice Center.

She said Root Brothers was fined $7,000 by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the death of Larios Hernandez.

“That is not enough for a farm to change its policies and procedures,” she said.

The Justice Center would like to see more safety training for workers, and overtime pay for the employees who often work 12 hours or more in the hot weather.

“There are a lot of precautions in other industries, but they do not exist in the agricultural industry,” Fox said.

She said 61 farmworkers have been killed on farms between 2006-2014, with 23 dying in 2014, with tractor rollovers and entanglement in other farm machinery the leading causes of death.

“This is a region of the state that is extremely rich in agricultural products and we celebrate that,” Fox said. “But the underbelly of that is a lot of workers are afraid to speak out on the conditions.”