Hero Image

Protecting the Environment and Human Health Through Worker Training

The Issue

Keeping pesticides out of groundwater and surface water and preventing pesticide drift are two of the most important issues facing agriculture. At the expanding agricultural-urban interface, the spotlight on these issues intensifies.

Pesticide applicators are directly responsible for ensuring that pesticides do not contaminate water or drift off the application site. Their supervisors play an important role in deciding when and how to use pesticides.

What Has ANR Done?

The UC Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) has recently collaborated with the California Minor Crops Council and local community groups to develop new train-the-trainer workshops in prevention of pesticide drift and water contamination.

The workshops are designed for pesticide applicators and their supervisors. Working with applicator-supervisor pairs is a new approach that PSEP believes will increase the likelihood that new safety plans and practices will be adopted back on the farm. Workshop attendees also become “peer trainers,” extending the information to other pesticide handler-supervisor pairs.

In addition to prevention of drift and water contamination, these workshops cover how to reduce risks to workers and communities, and how to incorporate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) concepts into decision-making processes.

The Payoff

Leveraged information benefits thousands of farm workers

PSEP’s train-the-trainer approach in these workshops leverages the efforts of a small team, extending knowledge about pesticide safety and environmental protection to many more people than would otherwise be possible. Using this approach in a number of subject areas, PSEP has trained hundreds of trainers throughout the state since 1994. These trainers have in turn trained thousands of agricultural workers.


Supporting Unit: Pesticide Safety Education Program

Patrick J. O'Connor-Marer, Pesticide Safety Training Program Coordinator, UC Statewide IPM Program, c/o IPM Education and Publications, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616