KILAUEA — Syngenta Seeds LLC is hosting worker protection trainings across Hawaii after reaching a settlement relating to two separate pesticide exposure incidents on Kauai.
Those incidents occurred in January 2016 and in January 2017 at Syngenta’s Kekaha farm. In January 2017, 11 workers re-entered a field too soon after it had been sprayed with restricted-use pesticides and were hospitalized.
The trainings are entitled “Pesticide Safety Training for Growers” and on Kauai, one of those trainings was held on Monday at the Kauai Community College. The second and last training will be today in Kilauea, at Anaina Hou Community Park Classroom from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coffee, pastries and lunch are included. The event is free.
The settlement was reached between Syngenta Seeds and the United States Environmental Protection Agency in February 2018. Syngenta is facing a civil penalty of $150,000 as part of that settlement.
The settlement also mandates that Syngenta Seeds, a subsidiary of Syngenta AG, will spend $400,000 on the worker protection sessions for growers in Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
“Reducing pesticide exposure for the millions of farmworkers who cultivate our food is a high priority for EPA,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, in a release about the settlement. “This settlement will bring to Hawaii and Pacific Island growers much-needed training to protect agricultural workers.”
After investigation into allegations of employee pesticide exposure, EPA found that Syngenta twice “failed to notify workers verbally and with signage to avoid fields recently treated with pesticides, resulting in exposure and hospitalization of workers.”
In addition, EPA found Syngenta “failed to provide both adequate decontamination supplies on-site and prompt transportation to a medical facility for exposed workers.”
Today’s training session will be hands-on and interactive, and cover things like general pesticide safety, hazard communication and decontamination.
The training also includes a take-home kit — also mandated by the settlement — which provides visual aids and training tools to use with employees, sample compliance and training forms and other tools.
More info: call or text Amy Wolfe with AgSafe at 209-499-4091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.