According to the National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. (NCFH), over 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers are estimated to be living in the United States. Housing these workers in comfortable and affordable homes is challenging as space is limited and the houses must meet OSHA standards.
While making sure shared rooms such as kitchens, dining areas and living rooms meet prescribed standards, bedrooms are more difficult in terms of planning to adhere to maximum space requirements. Bunk beds are popular choices for this housing as they make the most of limited floor plans and provide safe, comfortable sleeping quarters for hardworking migrant farm workers.
OSHA’s guidelines for migrant farm worker housing are constantly being updated and revised to keep housing affordable, clean, safe and comfortable. The housing designs are compelled to present a practical approach to housing migrant farm workers either on the property of individual growers or in privately owned and operated or community run housing centers.
State and federal guidelines dictate that the housing:
- Offer a respectable, residential class setting in line with local housing values
- Be sensibly priced
- Easily acquired and factory manufactured to be easily moved to different locations as dictated by the work at hand
- Easily maintained, energy efficient and long-lasting
Sleeping Facility Guidelines
According to OSHA’s guiding principles, sleeping facilities in migrant farm worker housing must be totally separated from other rooms in the house. Each occupant is entitled to a minimum of 50 square feet of floor space and is entitled to a proper, unshared bed built with strong and comfortable components. Most facilities furnish the bedrooms with bunk beds to conserve space. All the beds must be a minimum of 4 feet apart, with at least 30 inches of space in between the upper and lower bunk beds. Triple bunk beds are prohibited in these facilities.
Additional Benefits of Bunk Beds
Bunk beds free up floor space to allow room for desks and dressers in the bedroom. They don’t require expensive options such as headboards, box springs, or foundations. The less room that’s required for bedrooms can be used to expand other living quarters. Bunk beds are high enough above the floor to provide ample storage space for luggage, books, personal items, etc. In cases of illness, caregivers can stay close by patients without adding another bed to the room.
Best Bunk Beds For Farm Worker Houses
Standard bunk beds are the most popular option for farm worker houses but there are other viable choices as well. For families residing together in these houses, a single over double bunk bed is ideal for parents with a child who can remain close by sleeping in the single bunk above them. Bunk beds specifically made for larger men and women provide safe, comfortable sleep without fear of beds collapsing or unsteady climbing to the upper bed.
Providing comfortable housing for residents of migrant farm worker facilities is important for everyone. We all depend on this sector of the population to bring essential food to our tables, and they should have the best environment possible in which to live.
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