2013 Highlights: UC IPM Annual Report

UC IPM pesticide safety leads the way

Demonstrating proper use of a respirator. (Photo by J. K. Clark.)

Pesticides are an important part of many IPM programs, and UC IPM Pesticide Safety Education Coordinator Lisa Blecker is leading the way to make sure people who handle pesticides know how to use them safely.

Blecker has developed an active program to train the people who will deliver training to pesticide handlers and agricultural field workers (a “train-the-trainer” program). The law requires that handlers be instructed in ways to safely and legally apply pesticides, and it’s critical that all people who work around pesticides know how to keep themselves safe.

In 2012-13, 135 growers, farm labor contractors, and others attended six trainings. Based on their estimates, that group expects to train almost 21,200 field workers and 4,500 pesticide handlers. This multiplier effect is what makes train-the-trainer programs such an effective outreach approach.

For some pesticides, applicators and handlers must wear respirators for personal safety. Blecker has created a hands-on training module about using respirators properly, targeting pesticide applicators and handlers. This training helps students understand the complex regulations and respirator equipment.

According to Blecker, "We also expect to see an increase in appropriate respirator use among those who attend these trainings. This will lead to fewer acute and chronic respiratory exposure issues, as well as fewer regulatory violations."

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Western Agricultural Health and Safety Center supported these projects.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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