Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Growers Dealing with New Pesticide Handling Rules

Rules, rules and more rules.

You hear that complaint from farmers quite regularly. But county ag commissioners will tell them, that rules and regulations are a fact of life. And it’s important to follow them or ag inspectors could be knocking on the barn door.

Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s points out that the state has enacted new worker protection standards.  Growers can learn about these new rules as well as regulations on pesticides during a field day this Wednesday in Firebaugh.

Growers need to ensure worker safety  in pesticide handling..
Gilbert Urquizi, who oversees pest control operations for the Fresno Ag Commissioner’s Office, will talk about regulations and be available to answer questions at the free event sponsored by the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. The field day is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Firebaugh Mendota United Methodist Church, 1660 O St., Firebaugh.

Other speakers are: Dr. Pete Goodell of UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management, who will cover the impact of the weather on pest insects in almonds, cotton and alfalfa for the coming season; and Orvil Mckinnis, project manager of the Westside San Joaquin Valley Watershed Coalition, who will talk about the uses of pesticides and their impact on local water quality.
Continuing education credits will be available.More information about the field day is available from SJSFP Director Marcia Gibbs at (530) 370-5325 or Marcia@sustainablecotton.org

Here’s a quick overview from the Fresno Ag Commissioner’s Office about the new worker protection rules:
·         Pesticide safety training: Workers and handlers of pesticides are required to be trained every year.
·         Field posting notification: Growers must post signs for outdoor applications with restricted entry intervals over 48 hours.
·         Drift exposure prevention: There are new “exclusion zones” set up around application equipment up to 100 feet for outdoor applications.
·         Hazard communication: Safety data sheets must be available at a central display location.
·         Minimum age: All handlers and early entry employees must be at least 18 years old.
·         Pesticide safety information display: The pesticide safety information series has to be displayed at decontamination facilities at sites with 11 or more workers.
·         Decontamination: Employers must have available 1 gallon of water for each worker and 3 gallons for handlers.
·         Eye flushing at the mix/load site: When protection eyewear is required on the label or a closed mixing system is in use, employers must provide either from a system able to deliver 0.4 gallons per minute for 15 minutes or from six gallons of water able to flow gently for 15 minutes.
A closed mixing system for pesticides.
What is a closed mixing system?

There are engineering controls used to protect workers from dermal exposure hazards when mixing pesticides with high acute toxicity, according to the ag commissioner. The dermal toxicity of a pesticide is determined by the caution statements on the label.

Regulators have established a new tiered mitigation system based on the chemical’s caution label.

A Tier 1 closed mixing system is now required for workers who handle pesticides with a dermal hazard statement on the label that reads something like “fatal if absorbed through the skin.” This closed mixing system must be able to enclose the pesticide while removing the chemical from its original container. Each emptied container must be rinsed and drained while attached to the closed mixing system.

A Tier 2 closed mixing system is required for workers who handle pesticides with the warning label that reads something like “may be fatal if absorbed through skin” or “corrosive, causes skin damage.”  This mixing system must prevent pesticides from having contact with the handler. However, the container is not required to be rinsed while still attached to the system.

Growers should contact their local agricultural commissioner office for more information.

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