When working in the agricultural sector, it is possible for workers to come into contact with pesticides in places they least expect to find them. For example, some pesticides may drift from nearby applications to places where they weren’t applied. It is important for North Carolina workers to take measures to avoid exposure to toxic material such as pesticides. It is also an employer’s duty to train them on the way to do so.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, workers and handlers should be trained before handling anything involving pesticides and untrained workers should be given basic safety information before they go into an area treated with pesticides. Basic safety information includes how to prevent pesticides from entering one’s body, including wearing work clothes that protect the body from residue and washing work clothes separately from other clothes. In addition to this, untrained workers should know what to do if pesticide spills onto the body.

Employers must provide safety training to workers and handlers once at least every five years. This can be either the worker safety standard developed by the EPA or any equivalent material that covers the basic ground, including directions about how pesticides can enter the body and risks of exposure to toxic materials.

Exposure to pesticide while working is a risk that can be minimized if the appropriate steps are taken and these steps can only be taken if workers are trained about what to do to avoid a workplace disease. A workplace illness caused by exposure to hazardous materials can take time to manifest but can be just as debilitating as a sudden injury. Occupational disease cases usually take both time and hospital visits to resolve, but it is possible to obtain compensation through a workers’ compensation claim.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, “Pesticide safety training through the current WPS,” Accessed on January 19, 2015