Department of Pesticide Regulation

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June 3, 2002   ENF 2002-021
County Agricultural Commissioners  



The four-year Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Compliance Assessment Project (1997-2001) provided the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and the County Agricultural Commissioners (CAC) with useful information about industry compliance levels with WPS pesticide laws and regulations. Twenty-one counties were assessed during this time period. The CAC in each county received a report of the assessment findings that included DPR's recommendations for improving industry compliance with WPS requirements. Many CACs implemented the recommended changes or developed alternative program improvements in response to the assessment findings. Earlier this year, I requested that the compliance workgroup (CWG) develop a program to re-measure industry compliance levels in the counties previously assessed to determine how the implemented improvements are working and the effect they have had on industry compliance levels.

The CWG is developing a program to re-measure industry compliance levels using the existing overview inspection program. DPR Enforcement Branch has been performing overview inspections with CAC staff for over twenty years. DPR Senior Pesticide Use Specialists and CAC inspectors perform simultaneous inspections using standard inspection forms and procedures in conducting overview inspections. For the last several years the Enforcement Branch has performed 210–220 overview inspections statewide per year. Under this new program, we plan to focus these oversight (overview) inspections on a small number of counties each year depending upon resource availability and program goals.

The Compliance Assessment Oversight Inspection Program will begin July 1, 2002, and will re-measure compliance levels in four counties for the fiscal year 2002/03. The four counties that will be assessed are Merced, San Joaquin, Sutter and Tulare. Approximately 50 oversight inspections will be performed in each county throughout the year. The data collected from the oversight inspections will be analyzed and compared to the results of the original compliance assessments for each county. We expect this will provide DPR and the respective counties with information on the effectiveness of their program improvements made in response to the previous compliance assessments.

Using our existing oversight (overview) inspection program will allow us to spread out the workload across all seniors and, we hope, reduce or minimize the impact that the previous compliance assessment protocol had on the Regional Offices.

Additionally, the oversight inspection program will:

  • Allow the CACs to correct violations observed and to take appropriate enforcement action.
  • Provide information for our County Pesticide Compliance and Assessment database from the standard inspection forms.
  • Collect data on industry compliance as well as provide performance measurement information that the CACs can use in developing negotiated work plans and setting local program priorities.
  • Not be a statewide survey. However, we do hope to use the data collected from inspection forms and oversight inspections as a means to set baseline compliance levels for continuous program evaluation.

Before the Oversight Inspection Program is implemented, the CWG will create an oversight manual and train all of the regional seniors to perform oversight inspections in a consistent and uniform manner. Although all of the regional seniors will be performing oversight inspections in the four counties mentioned, the county's liaison and evaluation seniors will address all issues that require consultation with the CAC. The inspections will be limited to agricultural production operations and compliance data will be compiled from the following inspection forms: PR-ENF-021 - Pesticide Use Monitoring Inspection, PR-ENF-144 - Fumigation Use Monitoring Inspection, PR-ENF-044 - Field Worker Safety Inspection. Since some of the oversight inspections will be WPS Environmental Protection Agency Tier 1 inspections, the PR-ENF-022 - Pest Control Records Inspection form will also be utilized.

The oversight inspections will be performed throughout the fiscal year. However, in order to provide data comparable to the original assessment, seniors will schedule and perform their oversight inspection using the following goals to the extent practical:

  • Perform as many oversight inspections during the same season(s) as the original compliance assessment was conducted.
  • Target oversight inspections to observe activities in similar crops and pesticides as observed in the original compliance assessment.
  • Try to inspect the same ratio of pest control businesses to growers and growers to farm labor contractors as observed during the original compliance assessment.
  • For field worker inspections, try to target similar field worker activities as observed in the original assessment. Compliance with application specific information display requirements (3CCR 6761.1) will also be determined during field worker inspections.

Workload and priorities associated with implementing the WPS Oversight Inspection Program should be addressed in your Negotiated Work Plans. Again, since most oversight inspections will be performed in four counties, all other counties should expect fewer oversight inspections than have been performed in the past.

If you have any questions, please contact me or Mr. Jim Walsh, Program Specialist at (805) 654-4894.

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


cc:  Mr. Daniel J. Merkley, Agricultural Commissioner Liaison

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