NJ DEP ENFORCES PESTICIDE
SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR FARM WORKERS
in Series of Statewide Environmental Enforcement Strikes
(02/63) TRENTON - The
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell today announced that a targeted, three-day inspection of more than 50
agricultural sites is underway to strictly enforce pesticide regulations and help
ensure farm worker safety. The enforcement site visits are occurring in Cumberland,
Gloucester and Atlantic counties.
"We are committed
to providing equal protection to all individuals and groups against environmental
health risks," said Commissioner Campbell. "These concentrated efforts
are allowing us to immediately correct unsafe labor conditions and minimize a
worker's harmful exposure to pesticides."
As of July
31, DEP staff inspected 39 farms for compliance with pesticide safety regulations.
Inspectors are checking for such requirements as adequate training and protective
equipment for workers, and are examining areas of chemical storage. The inspections
also include a review of records regarding the time and location of pesticide
Twenty-three farms were issued Notices of
Violation, with 15 cited for serious problems including failure to train workers
and post essential pesticide information. DEP will make a decision of penalties
on a case per case basis, and follow-up inspections will be conducted to ensure
corrective action is taken. DEP enforcement officers also are providing on-site
safety instruction to assist farm owners with compliance where necessary. The
targeted, three-day inspection effort ends at the close of today - August 1, 2002.
owners have been generally cooperative during the safety inspections and we are
very pleased that they are making efforts to comply," Commissioner Campbell
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.
the assistance of two bilingual inspectors from its Pesticide Control Program,
the DEP enforcement team is also conducting on-site interviews of 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
"Protecting the safety of our farm workers
is a paramount concern for everyone in the agricultural industry," said Agriculture
Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. "We support the DEP in its efforts to assist
farmers in complying with pesticide regulations and will work closely with industry
groups and others to ensure that all New Jersey farmers are aware of the importance
of meeting these regulatory requirements."
federal Worker Protection Standard (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 washings,
and emergency assistance/transportation if poisoned or injured through pesticide
exposure. Owners are required to distribute educational pamphlets and pesticide
facts sheets - available through the DEP - to workers as part of an employee orientation
or annual employee training session.
The DEP conducts approximately
200 farm inspections annually for compliance with pesticide regulations. This
directed effort, which is being conducted during the prime agricultural season,
is the first concentrated strike organized by the department. Federal Environmental
Protection Agency inspectors joined the DEP enforcement team as observers.
DEP will initiate additional enforcement strikes statewide to ensure that overall
compliance with environmental equity, water, solid and hazardous waste, air pollution,
land use and other environmental requirements are being met. These special enforcement
efforts will target particular regions and areas of need across the state, including
NOTE: Farm owners can obtain safety
manuals and copies of pesticide fact sheets, which are available in Spanish, Chinese,
Italian, Korean, Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Haitian, and Tagalog, through
the DEP's website http://www.state.nj.us/dep/.
(Only the English version of the fact sheets is downloadable from the DEP website
at this time. Versions translated into additional languages can be ordered via
the Internet and are then delivered by mail.) To request additional information
by phone, call the DEP at 609-984-6920.