February 21, 2008
The Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning are quite similar to the symptoms of heat stress.
True or False?
Exposure to pesticides and heat stress share these common symptoms: Tiredness or dizziness. Headaches or blurred vision. Excessive sweating. Chest pains or trouble breathing. Nausea, stomach cramps or diarrhea.
Skin rashes and eye irritation are more typical of contact with pesticides, (especially from herbicides,. fungicides and EC’s – Emulsifiable Concentrates).
In warm weather and especially in closed areas such as greenhouses and shadehouses, heat stress is more probable than pesticide poisoning.
In any event, if the worker does not feel well, if something is not right, get him/her our of the work area, into the shade or cool area and, if symptoms persist, get medical help. (don’t forget to take a copy of the label to the first aid provider).
February 19, 2008
Eyewash Solution is specifically required for flushing out eyes contaminated with pesticides in the field.
True or False?
While the use of eyewash solutions are preferred, the decontamination of eyes can be done safely and effectively with clean water.
Since WPS (worker protection standards) so states that eyes should be flushed with water for at least 15 minutes, the quantities of eyewash solutions to enable a 15 minute flush would be considerable greater that what is supplied in the so-called decontamination kits that many safety supply houses and chemical dealers are offering to growers.
In fact, one of the EPA approved WPS Worker Training Tapes (“Following the Sun”) shows the characters actually flushing eyes out with water from an Igloo Cooler placed on the roof of a camper top.
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February 17, 2008
When mixing and loading pesticides into a sprayer, the minimum requirement is Eye Protection.
True or False?
Even though goggles or glasses will prevent splashes from getting in your eyes and on your face, you must also wear the PPE specified by the label for the particular materials you are mixing and loading. Even if the materials are mild, such as nutritionals, oils, etc, you must protect your face, eyes and body from splashes and handle all materials with gloves, waterproof or chemical resistant.
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February 15, 2008
EPA Approved Warning Signs must be put up in each area that has been sprayed.
True or False?
Warning signs should only be posted when indicated by the label of the product being applied. Remember, "The Label Is The Law" as set forth in FIFRA and pesticide manufacturers are required to include posting instructions on the label However, when posting of warning signs is not required, all personnel should be informed as to where the spraying or application will take place and told to stay away until the REI period is over.
In addition, warning signs should be removed after the REI expires. It is technically against the Worker Protection Standard to leave the warning signs up. Fold-over signs have been developed so that the sign does not have to physically removed – the top part folds down over the lower half and covers the sign up until the next time it is needed.
February 13, 2008
The Worker Protection Standard prohibits employees or anyone else, for that matter, from taking empty pesticide containers home with them.
True or False?
Empty pesticide containers, even though rinsed out, can still have residue of the pesticide in them and the EPA has seen it necessary to include this prohibition in the text of the Worker Protection Standard.
In addition, all pesticide containers should be perforated or cut so that they cannot be reused under any circumstances. Most states with container recycling programs will only accept the containers if they have been cut or perforated.
February 11, 2008
When drenching nursery crops, workers must be kept at least 100 feet away from the treated area.
True or False?
During drenching operations and until the expiration of the REI, workers and other persons must stay out of the treated area. (Only the treated area.)
The 100 foot restriction is for pesticides being applied:
- Aerially, or in an upward direction
- Using spray pressures greater than 150 psi
- Applying fumigants, smoke, mist, fog or aerosol
There is also a 25 foot restriction when pesticides are being applied:
- Downward, from a height of more than 12 inches above the medium
- Using a fine spray
- At pressures greater than 40 psi and less than 150 psi
- Or other circumstances not listed in both sections above and yet the label of the product requires use of a respirator.
NOTE: The Special Greenhouse Restrictions apply to fumigants, fogs, etc and other situations where the labeling requires use of a respirator and generally encompass the entire enclosed area.
February 9, 2008
Yellow Latex gloves are approved for spraying carbamates and organophosphates.
True or False?
Yellow Latex gloves are water resistant, not chemical resistant. The correct gloves for spraying carbamates and organophosphates are the green nitrile chemical resistant gloves.
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January 22, 2008
I wish I could remember what I used to get rid of the blight on my watermelons two years ago……or how we controlled whitefly in our eggplant the year before. Whenever this happens I find myself going back through old storage boxes looking for the scraps of paper that I wrote the sprayer tank mixes down on.
Looking back now, how I wish I had kept more formal and detailed records of my sprays. Never seemed to have time or the inclination to really make a detailed history of what we did and why we did it.
Well, I have to, now. With FIFRA being modified by the 1992 Farm Bill and its revisions, now requiring us to keep formal spray records and make them available to our employees (Worker Protection Standard of 1992 and parts of the Right-to-Know Act).
Not only that, but we must keep files on the labels and “MSDS” (Material Safety Data Sheet – that fine-printed sheet that was always delivered with the chemical and we didn’t know what to do with it, nor had time to read it…. so we threw it away) of every labeled spray material we use.
Plus, since the vendors have to supply us with that documentation, we should now file it in binders and not have it knocking around on the floor of our truck.
Many of you have set up record keeping systems and are working with them. What I want to do is give you a check list to go over, and make sure that you are doing everything that is required. And for those of you that haven’t gotten around to it, this could be your guide to get yourselves in line with the Law.
Your friendly extension agent, chemical supplier or safety equipment vendor can also provide this information.
RIGHT TO KNOW:
First of all, remember that the basic application information must be made available to your employees and must be posted wherever you post other employee notices at least for the 30 days after the application. Remember, that according to WPS you must have a bulletin board in a central location for this and other notice purposes.
Many growers just tack a copy of the spray record sheet to the bulletin board, over the previous sheet. You can also put up a clipboard and just go adding the sheets to it as you go along, (remember to remove the old ones).
Your employees can certainly make the effort to leaf through the records if they actually want to look something up, and this way you don’t eat up valuable bulletin board space.
Don’t post these records inside the chemical storage room, they are not accessible to your workers, and will put you out in left field if you ever get inspected.
If you do want to post something in the chemical storage room, then put up copies of the WPS Poster, location and telephone of nearest first aid facility ( in metropolitan areas, 911 will do), personal protection equipment requirements and clean-up instructions. But remember that most of these posters must also be tacked onto the main bulletin board in the central location (next to the time clock or where the generally employees congregate.
There are several record keeping systems on the market both manual and computerized. I have found that due to the many things that we have to do and keep track of daily in this growing business, that best systems are the simple systems.
Generally, and this is not a knock, the systems being sold are complicated because those who have devised them, (generally not growers) want to give you as much as possible for your money. Sort of a justification to what they’re doing. (Most of the record keeping programs for computers that I have tried and looked at can do all sorts of things for you and, if you have the time, they could be great fun!).
But since this is not a question of fun, what I am going to do to-day is take you through the basic requirements and, if you want to get more sophisticated or try record keeping on the computer, go for it!
I have found that the best way to get this going is to draw up a form that will ask the questions required for complete recording (as far as the law is concerned) of the applications, so that when we fill it out we are putting everything down that has to be saved. (fig 1.) This form must be kept handy for at least two years and the most practical way is to keep it in a three ring binder in the office. A copy of this form can be used for employee posting.
The three ring binder should have all of your applicator’s names, license numbers and expiration dates posted on the inside of the front cover. I have also found that if you post a list of all the chemicals with their EPA Registration numbers also inside that cover, you will not have to repeat the EPA numbers every time you fill out the form.
This does not hold true for the Active Ingredient. You will have to write down the Active Ingredient every time on the form. (hopefully this will change in the future, and is one compelling reason to look at a computer program, as all that repetitious information is stored and printed out when you type the name of the chemical). And make sure that the EPA Registration Number is on the copy of the form that you post for your employees.
Remember to keep the listing of applicators and EPA numbers current. The latter is especially important if you have an emergency as medical first aid information is being indexed to EPA numbers as well as active ingredients. EPA numbers may change as products are reformulated and re-registered so be sure to read the labels on every new shipment as there may be important changes that you may have to record.
As you will see on the sample form the following are the records required.
- Date – Location – Area Treated (acres or sq. ft)
- Brand Names of Products Applied – EPA Registration Number**
- Active Ingredient of products applied
- Rate per 100 gallons of water
- Total gallons of mixed product used
- Applicator name – Method of application ( boom, broadcast, air, hand spray, etc.)
- REI (Restricted Entry Interval) REI expiration date and time
** EPA number is optional if it is already listed in the front of the binder. Do not confuse this with the EPA establishment number, also listed on the label. That is the factory number and not the Registration Number. The number you want is also shown as EPA Reg. No.
There are other items on the form that are purely informational.
As a rule of thumb, you should post all records of spray applications in the central location, for your employees to have access to the information. If you are spraying pesticides with REI (Restricted Entry Interval), the records should be posted before the application begins and kept on the board for 30 days after the REI. (if the REI is 48 hours, then the records cannot be removed for 32 days).
The minimum information required for this posting is: Area to be sprayed – Brand Name of Pesticide (s) – EPA Registration number – Date and time of application – REI (hours of restricted entry: 4, 12, 24, etc.) There is no filing requirement on these particular sheets.
Keep a file of all the labels you are using and have used. If a label changes, be sure to add it to your file and write the date you started to use the material across the label. Also write the same date on the old label indicating that is the time that you replaced it with the newer version. It is best to keep the labels also in a three ring binder for easy reference.
Again, I must insist the you keep your eyes open when receiving new shipments of chemicals to catch changes in the label contents. These can cover re-entry periods, signal words, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), mixing and loading restrictions and application instructions. So consequently you and your applicators have to be advised of this. Remember to brief your applicators of all changes to label content.
You should also have a record of the training that your personnel has received in Worker Protection Standard. The applicators should have been trained in the Mixing and Loading protocol known as Handler Training.
You should have sheets on file showing their names, Social Security Numbers, type of training, date, place, trainer Id., and EPA card number, if such was issued by the trainer.
Your workers should have been given the WPS Worker Training and you should have sheets on file showing their names, social security numbers, type of training, date, place, trainer Id and EPA Card number, if such was issued by the trainer.
If you do not have those records, contact the person that trained your personnel to issue them. You must have them on file at your place of business.
If you have not trained your employees in WPS, you must do so immediately to avoid sanctions and fines. Remember, EPA training must be repeated every five years. If you trained your people back in 1993, you will have to train them again this year.
Although not directly related to Record Keeping, I want to just go over a couple of points which will help you comply with the storage rules.
1. Keep everything off the floor in the storage room.
What you have on the floor can be put up on pallets and, as long as it is not indirect contact with the floors, will be acceptable. Another way is to get some concrete blocks and use them as bases for planks that will make shelves holding the materials.
2. Do not store fertilizers and other nutrients in the chemical storage room together with pesticides.
Remove all fertilizers and nutritionals to another ventilated and protected storage area. Also be sure to keep them off the floor.
3. Make sure all bags and containers are closed when mixing and loading is not taking place.
You can get clamps for the paper bags and make sure you keep the stoppers and caps on the bottles.
4. The chemical room must be well ventilated and yet lockable.
5. Keep the room clean and free of spills.
If you have broken or leaking containers, transfer contents into good containers. Make sure you label them properly and clearly.
6. Check all the labeling on the packages and containers in the chemical room.
Make sure they are all legible. If any need replacing, relabel them clearly and with an indelible pen.
Hopefully I have been able to refresh you on some points of record keeping. I know it is not the most attractive task in the world, but it is very necessary and, who knows, in a couple of years you’ll be able to instantly look up what you did to get rid of the aphids before they gave your citrus trees the “Tristeza”.
January 16, 2008
Watching an operator recently taking off his spray gloves – I could not believe my eyes! He removed them just as most of us would. He pulled the left one off with his gloved right hand and then pulled the right one off with his bare left hand, getting all the chemical onto his hand. This kind of defeats the reason for wearing gloves to protect you from spray materials?
Well, that wasn’t anything compared to the sprayman that removed one glove and then removed the other one by pulling with his teeth because he did not want to get the chemicals on his bare hand!
The simple and correct method to do this is:
- Wash your gloved hands first to remove chemical residue from the gloves.
- Remove the gloves without getting the material on our hands.
- Finally, wash our hands again.
Washing the gloves also preserves them as it removes the chemical residue that otherwise would dry on the surface and possibly crack and deteriorate the glove material.
Try This Simple Test
Have your operator remove their gloves as if they were finished spraying.
Did they follow the steps above?
If not! Remind your personnel to follow these simple steps. Consider taking pictures and post them for easy viewing. They tend to forget what they have been taught and need periodic reminders on all safety practices. That’s all part of WPS – Worker Protection Standards and safe spraying.
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December 30, 2007
Spray application information must be posted in a central location after the spraying is done.
True or False?
The WPS (Worker Protection Standards) requires that the information be posted before the spraying begins. This is to inform employees as to what areas will be sprayed and must be avoided.
The information posted must include:
- Location and description of the area to be treated.
- The product name, EPA registration number and active ingredient(s) of the pesticide
- The time and date the pesticide is scheduled to be applied
- The restricted entry interval (REI) for the pesticide.
This information must be available for 30 days AFTER the REI interval (Re Entry Interval) for the pesticide has expired.
Other information the central location must have:
- The name, telephone number and address of the nearest medical facility
- The WPS Pesticide Safety Poster in good, readable condition.