By Pat Melgares, K-State Research and Extension news service
Olathe, KS – Kansas State University officials have announced a series of free workshops to provide training that will reduce the risk of illness or injury to agriculture workers who are exposed to pesticides while on the job.
Cal Jamerson, a K-State Research and Extension produce safety extension associate based in Olathe, said training is available in Manhattan, Olathe and Wichita in early December for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Worker Protection Standard pesticide safety training sessions.
The series of workshops, which are held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., include:
- Dec. 1 – Manhattan, 110 Courthouse Plaza, room B216.
- Dec. 8 – Olathe, 22201 W. Innovation Drive.
- Dec. 12 – Wichita, 7001 W. 21st Street North, Ingle room.
“This training is important so that agricultural employers – including farms, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses and others – know what is expected of them related to pesticide applications and how to train their workers to be safe with pesticides,” Jamerson said.
Participants will earn certification as a Worker Protection Standard trainer in order to train workers to comply with EPA regulations for working with pesticides.
Londa Nwadike, an extension associate professor of food safety who has a dual appointment in Kansas and Missouri, said occupational exposure to pesticides may cause acute and long-term health effects to farmers and farm-workers, “but with proper training and safe practices, harmful occupational exposure to pesticides can be reduced.”
The EPA’s Worker Protection Standard requires agricultural employers to provide specific information and protection when using products labeled as being covered by WPS.
Jamerson said agricultural businesses are required to provide pesticide safety training and education on how to read and understand pesticide labels.
“The Worker Protection Standard also includes providing information on what and where pesticides are being used, and what must be done to protect (workers) from exposure,” he said. “The protections required include relevant Personal Protective Equipment, signage and clear safety procedures.”
For more information or to register for the free December workshops, interested persons may contact Jamerson at 913-709-0281, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is also available online. The workshops are available for free due to support by a specialty crop block grant from the Kansas Department of Agriculture.