With summer on the way and much of the TFREC staff involved in orchard work, it seems an appropriate time to pass on some safety reminders.
A training checklist is provided in the employee orientation paperwork/packet or on the Supervisors’ page on this website. Safety training must be completed before new employees begin working and annually after initial employment. Safety training is completed online and is available from the New Employees Orientation page on this website.
The WSU research orchards at Sunrise and Columbia View are enclosed with electrified deer fencing. The gates at Sunrise are unlocked by the farm crew at 7:30 am and relocked at 3:30 pm every business day. The gate at Columbia view needs to be unlocked each time you enter and will close automatically after entry. Please close and relock all gates you open, including internal gates or fencing. Gate and fences are installed to provide security for the equipment and plants in the orchard from wildlife and people with nefarious intentions.
Pesticide Exposure Safety
Any person working in an orchard during the 30-day period after a Restricted Entry Interval (REI) has expired must have Worker Protection safety (WPS) training conducted by a person who meets the criteria of WAC 296-307-12040 (3). WPS training is designed to give employees the knowledge to protect themselves from pesticide exposure. If you will be working in orchards and have not received this training, please ask your supervisor to provide WPS training for you. WPS training must be completed each year.
When working in orchards, the WPS requires employees to wear:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Long pants
- A hat or scarf
TFREC policy also requires that all employees wear irrigation boots for orchard work.
Persons working in orchards must also have the following decontamination supplies provided for them:
- An adequate supply of clean water and/or eyewash for eye flushing and washing
- Soap and single-use towels
- One clean pair of coveralls per crew member
Persons working in an orchard during REI may only do so if the following conditions are met:
- Each person must be provided the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required by the pesticide label;
- Must receive training in the use of the PPE;
- Must not work in REI are for more than 1 hour in a 24 hour period;
- May only do work that requires minimal contact with treated surfaces such as leaf sampling or irritating.
No entry is allowed for the first 4 hours after application of a restricted use pesticide.
A decontamination site must be set up within 1/4 mile of the work area and in addition to the basic decontamination supplies listed above, there must be 10 gallons f water available for one employee or 20 gallons for 2 or more employees. In addition, 6 gallons of eyewash solution must be available at the decontamination site and each person must also have 1 pint of eyewash available to them if the chemical requires protective eyewear.
Prior to pesticide application, notification of the treatment must be entered into the Pesticide Application Re-entry App and posted in the following locations:
- No-entry signage must be posted in each block where pesticides are applied.
- For Sunrise Orchard treatments: On the signboard at the entrance to the Sunrise Orchard research blocks.
- For Columbia View treatments: At the Columbia View office.
- For TFREC campus treatments: On the bulletin board across from the mailboxes in the Overley building.
Illness & Accidents
Employees must receive training on Heat-Related Illness Prevention before working in an orchard.
NEW heat rule: The amended rule with underlined changes may be found online. The key factors in the updated rule are the specific required actions of employers that go in effect at the 100 F threshold. These actions include:
- having shaded or otherwise cool space,
- having cooled water available,
- ensuring appropriate breaks in shaded or cooled spaces, and
- ensuring that employees take preventative cool down measures as needed.
Each field crew must have one person along that is up to date with their CPR/First Aid training. This training must be completed every two years.
A listing of medical facilities for North Central Washington is available. Please ensure that there is a copy of this list in each vehicle. The most current version of the medical facilities list is available on the Vehicle Use Policy page of this website.
Each vehicle must also have a stocked First Aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a WSU self-insurance form, and a”What to do in the event of an accident” form. For more information about or to download the forms, see the Vehicle Use Policy page on this website.
Helmets and protective eyewear must be worn when riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and the operator must complete the online training part 1 & 2 located on the ATV Safety Training page on this website and be checked out by their supervisor prior to operating an ATV.
Employees must also receive Orchard Ladder Training before using any ladders in the orchard.
Any work-related accidents, injuries, or illnesses must be reported to your supervisor immediately even is no medical treatment is necessary. Employees must supply the supervisor with their WSU identification number and the details of the accident, injury, or illness. Near-miss accidents should also be reported. Supervisors should fill out an online incident report. Completed incident report forms should be forwarded to Jerry Moreland either electronically or in hard copy.
Caution must be taken in the orchards regarding wildlife. During periods of fires and hot weather, snake sightings and encounters may increase. Sightings of snakes in the orchards are reported each year. Irrigation boots are protection against snakes which is why they are required attire for orchard work. Any other wildlife found in orchards (deer, rabbits, etc.) should be left alone.
During wildfire season, please be alert to any evacuation levels that may affect the main TFREC campus or the field locations you may be working in. Evacuation levels are as follows:
- Level 1: Be alert, the area may soon be in danger;
- Level 2: Be ready to go, significant danger in the area;
- Level 3: Evacuate immediately, do not return until evacuation level is dropped to L2 or below.
Listen to local radio or watch for emergency management messages on television or internet for most current evacuation levels. If you are wondering if you should report for work, you can call the main TFREC number, 509-293-8800, and if the center is closed, the information will be on the greeting.