Nursery Fined for Not Providing Its Pesticide Applicators with Safety Training

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Linden Tree Nursery Inc. $1,760 for allegedly misusing a pesticide and failing to comply with federal pesticide worker safety regulations. In 2008, the nursery misused the restricted-use pesticide Diazinon AG500 and failed to ensure that an applicator received safety training during the previous five years as required by law, constituting violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA said.

The Arizona Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during a worker protection inspection in May 2008. During the pesticide applications, the nursery failed to provide its pesticide applicators with required safety training, which under federal law constitutes a misuse of a registered pesticide. EPA noted that these safeguards are required by the federal Worker Protection Standard, which aims to reduce the risk of pesticide injuries to agricultural workers.

"Agricultural employers must ensure that their workers are provided with information and protection to minimize the risk of exposure to pesticides," said Katherine Taylor, associate director of EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "Failure to provide these necessary safeguards is considered a serious violation."

Diazinon AG500 is limited to agricultural use only and must be applied by a certified applicator or a person under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Linden Tree Nursery's May 2008 application of Diazinon AG500 had neither a certified applicator nor a person under the direct supervision of a certified applicator, EPA said.

The Worker Protection Standard, part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, aims to protect worker health and the environment from exposure to pesticides through the strict enforcement of labeling requirements. The standard contains requirements for the provision of pesticide safety training, decontamination supplies, and emergency medical assistance, as well as the notification of recent pesticide applications, the use of protective equipment, and restrictions on reentry into fields where pesticides have been applied.

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