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EPA CITES HAWAII GROWER FOR VIOLATING PESTICIDE SAFETY LAW
Release Date: 3/3/1999
Contact Information: Lois Grundwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588, Ann Takiguchi, Hawaii, Department of Agriculture, (808) 973-9560
RELEASED JOINTLY BY THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND THE HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Susan Andres Farm in Keaau Faces Penalties of Up to $11,000
(San Francisco)--A grower on the Big Island of Hawaii has been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today for alleged violations of the Worker Protection Standard under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Susan Andres Farm, a papaya farm in Keaau, faces penalties of up to $11,000.
"Employers are responsible for the safety of their employees. If they choose to use these pesticides, they must recognize the risks and use the products properly," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Cross-Media Division at U.S. EPA's western regional office. "The Worker Protection Standard is designed to reduce the risk of illness or injury to agricultural workers and pesticide handlers from occupational exposures to pesticides used on farms. Any employer who sidesteps the law and puts workers and handlers at risk will face enforcement action."
EPA charged Susan Andres Farm with ten separate violations including: allowing worker entry into areas treated with pesticides, failing to provide required pesticide safety training, failing to post information in the workplace about pesticide safety and recent pesticide applications, and violations of other requirements designed to protect farm workers from exposure to pesticides.
The EPA action is built on an investigation conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Susan Andres Farm has received prior warnings for similar violations under state law.
"Working with pesticides can be hazardous, but with proper handling and safety precautions these situations can be prevented," said James J. Nakatani, chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
"The diversity of Hawaii's ethnic make-up places an even greater need for farmers to understand the steps that should be taken to provide safe working conditions for their workers including proper training in the safe-handling of hazardous materials. In addition, workers should have access to decontamination facilities, and arrangements must be made with area medical centers for emergency treatment," added Nakatani.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture Pesticide Education Program provides farmers with information on how to comply with worker protection requirements. For more information on
this program, farmers in Hawaii can call: (808) 973-9411 (Oahu), (808) 974-4142 (Hilo, Hawaii), and (808) 873-3555 (Maui).