A targeted, three-day inspection of 58
agricultural sites was conducted from July 30 to August
1, 2002. Inspectors checked for such requirements as adequate
training and protective equipment for workers, and examined
areas of chemical storage. The inspections also included
a review of records regarding the time and location of
pesticide applications. The purpose of this inspection
initiative was to enforce pesticide regulations and help
ensure farm worker safety within Cumberland, Gloucester
and Atlantic counties. This directed effort, which was
conducted during the prime agricultural season, is the
first concentrated effort organized by the Department.
Federal Environmental Protection Agency inspectors joined
the Department’s enforcement team as observers.
Under the federal Worker Protection Standards
(WPS) agricultural employers are required to provide pesticide
safety training for workers (people performing hand labor
in the field) and handlers (people mixing, loading, or
applying pesticides) in a language the employees understand.
Farm owners must ensure on-site access to pesticide safety
information - including a posted list of current pesticide
treatments on the property. In addition, farm owners must
provide workers protective clothing, an ample supply of
water, soap and towels for decontamination and routine
washing, and emergency assistance/transportation if poisoned
or injured through pesticide exposure. Owners are required
to distribute educational pamphlets and pesticide fact
sheets (available through the Department) to workers as
part of an employee orientation or annual employee training
Department conducts approximately 200 farm inspections
annually for compliance with pesticide regulations. Approximately
40,000 farm workers are employed in New Jersey, including
those who live in migrant camps on farms and "day-haulers" who commute from cities daily and are transported on buses
by crew leaders.
With the assistance of two bilingual
inspectors from the Pesticide Control Program, the Department’s
enforcement team conducted on-site interviews with farm
workers to measure the effectiveness of current regulations
and gain first-hand information about potentially unidentified
exposure risks that may be experienced during daily operations.
Inspectors also provided on-site safety instruction to
assist farm owners with compliance where necessary.
Inspectors issued NOVs to 41 of
the 58 farms inspected. The 41 farms in violation represented
a wide range of compliance problems- from minor record
keeping to more serious issues such as a lack of safety
training and decontamination supplies. On 31 of the farms,
workers were interviewed, and on 5 farms pesticide handlers
were interviewed to gain their perspective on safety measures
in place. Information collected during these interviews
will be compared to what the inspection revealed. A report
summarizing the Department's findings and recommendations
will be published and distributed to farm-related organizations,
and posted on this website.