Pesticides Sprayed on Large Field
Pesticides Sprayed on Large Field

Top 10 Pesticide Violations in 2022: Using Violation Reports to Improve Current Safety Practices

En español

When pesticides are applied, growers and supervisors are required to ensure that workers handling pesticides—also known as handlers—are protected. Despite these requirements, there are often violations of pesticide laws and regulations. Make safety a priority in 2024 by learning more about the top 10 pesticide violations in California from 2022 (data from 2023 will be available later in 2024). The reminders included below can be implemented to improve pesticide safety practices.

1. Labeling/permit conditions

Labeling/permit conditions was the most common violation. The label on pesticide packaging is the law and must be followed. Specifically, a pesticide should only be applied to a site or crop listed on the product label. Be sure you understand all the information included on the label before using the pesticide. It is a violation of federal law to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with the label.


  • The label is the law.
  • Always read the label first before applying pesticide.
  • Only apply a pesticide to a site or crop listed on the label.

2. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE was the second most common violation. PPE required on the pesticide labeling or regulation must be clean, inspected, and provided to handlers. PPE must be kept separate from personal clothing.


  • The employer must provide and inspect PPE.
  • The employer must assure PPE is the right fit/size for each worker to be used effectively.
  • PPE must be used correctly to be effective.

3. Emergency medical care

Emergency medical care must be planned for to ensure the safety of any handlers who may become exposed to pesticides. The contact information of an emergency medical care facility must be identified and displayed at the work site or vehicle. If an employee could have pesticide exposure or illness, they must be immediately taken to a medical facility. Be prepared to provide the safety data sheet, Environmental Protection Agency registration number, active ingredient, and circumstances of the exposure.


  • Medical care for pesticide handlers must be planned in advance.
  • Medical facility contact information must be posted at the work site.

4. Registration in county

Pest control businesses/individuals must be registered each year with the County Agricultural Commissioner for each of the counties in which they apply pesticides.


  • Separate registrations are required with each county BEFORE pesticides are applied.

5. Service container labeling

Containers must be labeled with the name and mailing address of the person or company responsible for the container. The label must also include the name of the pesticide in the container, and the word “danger,” “warning,” or “caution” that matches the original pesticide container.


  • Containers containing pesticides must be carefully labeled with all required information.

6. Application specific information for fieldworkers

Growers must display information related to pesticide application at a central location that gives information about what crop or location was treated, the date and time of application, the product(s) used, safety data sheets for the product(s) used, and restricted entry interval. This information must be displayed before any worker can enter the treated field and must remain posted until the field is no longer considered a treated field or if workers will no longer be at the location.


  • Information related to pesticide application must be displayed at a central location.
  • Required information must be displayed before any worker can enter the treated field.

7. Hazard communication for fieldworkers

A completed copy of the Pesticide Safety Information Series (PSIS) A-9 leaflet must be displayed at the work site or a central location where employees will see it daily and at all permanent decontamination facilities. Any changes to the emergency medical care facility information for pesticide exposure or illness, must be updated within 24 hours. Pesticide records must be kept for two years.


8. Handler training

A handler is anyone mixing, loading, transferring, or applying pesticides, opening containers of pesticides, acting as a flagger, or cleaning, handling, adjusting, or repairing the mixing, loading, or application equipment that may contain pesticide residues. Handlers must be trained on all required topics and pesticides used in a manner they can understand. Records of trainings must be kept for two years and verified by the employee’s signature.


  • Trainings must cover all topics required and all pesticides used by handlers.
  • Trainings must be given in a manner that the handler can understand.
  • Trainings must be updated if new pesticides are used.

9. Pesticide use reports for production agriculture and monthly summary pesticide use reports

Growers must complete a detailed report when pesticides are applied to produce crops including fruit, nuts, grains, vegetables, nursery stock, cut flowers, and sod. Reports must be submitted to the county commissioner by the 10th of the following month. All other uses of pesticides (such as rights-of-way and commodity fumigation) must be reported in a summary of pesticide use by the 10th of the following month.


  • Failing to submit a report on time is considered a pesticide violation.

10. Handler decontamination facilities

Handlers must be provided soap, three gallons of clean water per employee at the start of the work day, single use towels, and clean coveralls. Handlers must have immediate access to emergency eye wash if protective eyewear is required for the pesticide. The decontamination facilities must be located at the mixing and load site and not more than ¼ mile away from the handlers. The decontamination facilities must also be located away from areas being treated or restricted entry areas unless precautions are taken. Handlers must be notified of the location of the decontamination facilities.


  • Hand sanitizer and wipes cannot be used in place of clean water and soap.
  • One pint of water for emergency eye flush must be immediately available to each applicator (carried by the applicator or in the application vehicle)
  • Emergency eye wash stations must be able to gently rinse the eye for 15 minutes when protective eyewear is required.
  • Eye flush must also be available at the mixing/loading site if a closed mixing system is used.

Keep your workers safe by carefully reviewing California’s Pesticide Safety Information Series.


Disclaimer: The facts and information given above are summary of the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s findings, but are in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all actions needed to ensure safety and compliance.