EPA alert

During this time of heightened security, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a precautionary alert to all pesticide industry organizations, facilities and handlers. The Alert focuses on some general security policies and procedures that companies may find valuable.

Though heightened security is on everyone's mind and it's hard to argue with good intentions, some suggestions circulating, especially at the state level, seem excessive, especially where turf and ornamental operators are concerned. For example blast-proof containers may be appropriate at a chemical plant, but obviously are too much for a small storage shed. Some ideas being considered even include finger printing for applicators. Let's hope our government agencies use prudence and avoid overreacting.

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In any case, in these uncertain times it is worth revisiting your pesticide storage facilities and handeling procedures, with particular attention to security. The security needs and control points differ for every business, but the EPA recommendations include:

  • Securing buildings, manufacturing facilities, storage areas, and surrounding property: An effective security plan incorporates basic fencing, lighting, locks and, if needed, intrusion detection systems, cameras and trained guards to prevent invasions.

  • Securing pesticide application equipment and vehicles: Before operating pesticide application tools and vehicles, handlers must show proper identification and authorization.

  • Protecting confidential information: Efforts to secure business, safety and security systems include emergency planning for power losses, helpful monitoring for access ports, observance of password and backup procedures, and other mechanisms to maintain access for authorized personnel only.

  • Designing facilities and equipment to minimize risk of danger: To prevent damage, the use of sturdy, reliable and potentially blast-proof materials is necessary in constructing equipment used to apply and transport pesticides.

  • Developing procedures and policies that support security needs: Background checks guarantee that pesticide handlers have all necessary training to handle pesticides safely. Inventory management policies can help limit the amount of potentially hazardous pesticides stored on site, reducing the risks of accidental or intentional release or theft. Efficient advance emergency response procedures help make sure that business officials and employees understand how to respond and whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Many of these tips listed are described in more detail in the Chemical Safety Alert entitled: A Chemical Accident Prevention: Site Security, published in February 2000 by the EPA and available on the EPA Web site at www.epa.gov/swercepp/p-small.htm#alerts. For more information on other Agency programs to promote facility security and readiness, visit http://www.epa.gov/swercepp/. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has produced a separate advisory for transporters, which is available by contacting the DOT at (202) 366-6525.

Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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