Department of Pesticide Regulation

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April 4, 2002   ENF 2002-013
County Agricultural Commissioners  



Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) finalized a Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Inspection Guidance Document that established certain criteria for a WPS Tier 1 inspection. This document does not directly affect the inspections performed by county agricultural commissioners (CACs) at this time. It will, however, affect some of the overview inspections performed by DPR's Senior Pesticide Use Specialists (SPUS) in conjunction with CAC staff.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has agreed to perform a small number of U.S. EPA WPS Tier 1 overview inspections (approximately eight per region) during the remainder of the 2001/02 fiscal year. The WPS Tier 1 overview inspections will be conducted similar to all routine overview inspections. They will be "side by side" inspections with the SPUS performing inspections simultaneously with the CAC inspector. These overview inspections will differ from typical overview inspections in the following manner:

  • a) The WPS Tier 1 inspection criteria are more comprehensive than our individual inspections. Therefore, the SPUS will need to perform two or more inspections on an employer. Usually this will consist of either a Use Monitoring Inspection or a Field Worker Safety Inspection and a Headquarter and Employee Safety Inspection being performed on a particular agricultural employer to count as one WPS Tier 1 inspection.
  • b) The SPUS will complete a supplemental form (WPS Inspection Report Supplement) which documents general data on the inspection such as establishment type, crop type, and inspection type (see attached).
  • c) The supplement form also documents employer and employee responses to specific questions asked during the normal inspection interview process. Some of these questions are not routinely addressed in typical inspection interviews. These questions will usually be asked by the SPUS but may be asked by the CAC inspector if you desire. The questions include:
    1. Asking both the employer and employees if they are aware of any exposure incidents in the last year.
    2. Asking the employers if they have had any problems with employee refusal [e.g., employees that refuse to wear provided personal protective equipment (PPE)].
    3. Asking employees if they have experienced any retaliation problems with their employer (e.g. an employer that fires or threatens to fire an employee for requesting required PPE or application information).
  • d) Due to the inclusion of retaliation information, the supplement form is considered a confidential document and will not be provided to the employer or the inspected persons. If requested, the CAC may be provided a copy of the form. If this document is requested under the Public Records Act, all information related to retaliation must be deleted from the form.
  • e) When performing a Field Worker Safety Inspection on a field labor contractor, no records inspection is required but the SPUS must verify that the grower has displayed application specific information.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation's Procedures For Conducting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Worker Protection Standard Tier 1 Overview Inspections (attachment 2) provides guidance on how the SPUS should respond when they receive information regarding exposure incidents, employee refusal or employer retaliation. See Questions and Answers numbers 4-6 of attachment 2.

DPR will be negotiating with U.S. EPA to determine the number of WPS Tier 1 overview inspections to be performed under the 2002/03 fiscal year Grant. The number negotiated will be based on information derived from the overview inspections performed in the next few months. It is likely that some additional time and effort by CAC staff will be necessary in scheduling and conducting these inspections. I anticipate future discussion concerning your involvement with these inspections as we pilot the proposed inspection form changes and as I discuss the workload impacts with U.S. EPA.

I am grateful for your cooperation as we implement this new WPS Tier 1 inspection process. If you have any questions, please contact me, your Senior Pesticide Use Specialist, or Mr. Jim Walsh, Program Specialist, at (805) 654-4894.

Original Signature by:
Scott T. Paulsen, Chief
Pesticide Enforcement Branch
(916) 324-4100

Department of Pesticide Regulation's Procedures for Conducting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Worker Protection Standard Tier 1 Overview Inspections, PDF (26 kb)
WPS Inspection Report Supplement, PDF (60 kb)

cc:  Mr. Jim Walsh (w/Attachments)
      Mr. Bill Lee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (w/Attachment)
      Ms. Katy Wilcoxen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (w/Attachment)
      Mr. Daniel J. Merkley, Agricultural Commissioner Liaison (w/Attachment)

1001 I Street  ·   P.O. Box 4015  ·  Sacramento, California 95812-4015  ·
A Department of the California Environmental Protection Agency