View Full Version : USDA License inspection Wednesday

David Haggerty
11-17-2006, 05:32 PM
What can I expect?

I just got a call from the USDA inspector telling me he will be here next Wednesday at 9:30.

He wants to check my record keeping for my pesticide license, storage and my operation.
Said it wouldn't take more than a couple of hours.

I didn't tell him but you can see everything I've got in 15 minutes. I mean I'm a small operation. Just me, a bacpack sprayer for Roundup, a 12 gallon mower mount for sterilant, and a 25 gallon mower mount boom sprayer for broadleaf control. Havn't applied any bug control.
My records are a notebook with a copy of every application I've ever made. Maybe 40 total.
My storage is an old metal kitchen cabinet in the corner of my garage with a magnetic latch.

Have a pair of rubber gloves and boots. No MSDS sheets.

Whadda you think? Am I in trouble? What do I need to fix?

11-17-2006, 06:31 PM
I am not sure of the exact specs because I don't use pesticides. BUT it was nice of him to give you a few days notice. My advice is to read the regs again and make sure you are following them. Even if you have a minor violation most likely you would get a warning first time. Good luck.

11-17-2006, 06:31 PM
Are you sure it's a federal inspector and not a state inspector? I don't understand that.

11-17-2006, 07:09 PM
Get a copy of the MSDS for EVERYTHING in the shop
Not just the roundup and pesticide stuff
Most companies have a place on thier website you can download and print out the MSDS sheet

11-17-2006, 07:22 PM
Get a copy of the MSDS for EVERYTHING in the shop
Not just the roundup and pesticide stuff
Most companies have a place on thier website you can download and print out the MSDS sheet

I agree... anything that you use for THAT business needs a MSDS sheet! If it
s things for the home (homeowner) you don't need msds sheets! So don't store YOUR house stuff with your Business stuff! (spray paint, oil, etc.)

11-17-2006, 07:39 PM
I have never in my life ever heard of anyone in lawn care getting an inspection by the USDA. Are you sure it's not your state Dept. of Ag.?

Richard Martin
11-17-2006, 07:45 PM
I'm not sure what they will require but chances are he's going to rake you over the coals. For example what are your provisions in case you have a chemical spill? As noted above MSDS is an absolute neccessity. You'd better do some homework this weekend and get ready.

11-17-2006, 09:11 PM
It is the Ohio Dept of Ag. not U.S. Dept. I was inspected a few years ago no notice what so ever they just showed up one day, I wasn't here so I made an appointment for them to come back later in the week. Make sure all of your records are up to date for the past 3 years, if you have any chemicals around put them in a locked cabinet ( make sure they have the directions on them or you have the directions on file, did not ask for MSDS's) have a spill kit on hand ( cat litter or some thing along that line) also have some rubber gloves and full protection safety glasses. They will look at where you store your materials then look at all of your records, make some suggestions ask some questions fill out some forms and be on their way. It is really no big deal if you are a small operation. It is mostly things that you should have or be doing any way. Good Luck.

11-18-2006, 12:31 AM
I doubt he is going to "rake you over the coals". If he was going to do that, he would not have called and told you when he was going to be there. Don't you only have to have MSDS sheets if you have employees? Not sure on that. When I worked for the water company, we had DEP inspections every year. They do not inspect to make your life hell, they are trying to help you follow the regs. Of course, this can depend if the inspector is an a$s or not. I wouldn't sweat it, though.

Envy Lawn Service
11-18-2006, 02:36 AM
Yep... you better dig up your paperwork and make sure you are conforming to everything.

USDA... wow...

Have you by chance made a large purchase of ammonium nitrate?
Do you have any federal contracts?
What about really ticked someone off lately?

David Haggerty
11-18-2006, 10:26 AM
Envy, It's funny you'd mention the fertilizer purchase. I have been buying quite a lot of fert for application after I core aerated.
I was going to pick some up at the Lesco store in Cincinnati, when before I'd been buying it all in Dayton. This guy wasn't going to sell me ANYTHING until he found my account in the computer. And he was noticibly relieved when the fert I ordered only had slow release nitrogen in it. I read somewhere that the slow release fert is the "safety" fertilizer.

Maybe it did trigger an inspection.

Everyone's right. The State administers the pesticide laws for the USDA. They work with the full authority of the USDA and it's a USDA license so messing up can be pretty serious.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. So far my plan is to:
Lock the cabinet
Remove the wife's sevin & rose dust from the cabinet.
Make a "spill kit" with a 5 gal bucket of oil absorbent & broom.
Put some safety goggles with my rubber gloves & boots.
Make sure I have the poison center hotline number. (I think that's an Ohio requirement)

Anything else?

I was thinking of throwing out all the old fertilizer bags. I keep them in the truck to use for trash bags. But I think now I'll just keep them in case that is what they're curious about.


11-18-2006, 07:19 PM
have your MSDS and your Worker Protection Standards poster near the chemicals storage and a Wash Kit for "exposures" with clean water, eye wash, clean towels, clean change of cloths

11-18-2006, 07:38 PM
Yup, first get rid of the evidence.

Now I'm not really sure thou, years ago we used to get inspected by the Fire Marshall... Granted, it's a different guy but basically the way that worked is whatever he found wrong, you had 30 days to fix it and he even gave you the day he was coming back.

So what we used to do is fix everything the day before he came back, get re-inspected, then return everything back to normal.

11-19-2006, 07:21 AM
Don't worry, your not getting arrested. I got spot inspected at a job a couple of years ago. I had about 25 customers on the app program at the time. He looked for the spill kit, flags, ppe, blah,blah. Asked if the tank was bolted to the frame. When he saw how few customers I had, he didn't even care to see my storage and mixing areas. I faxed over what records I didn't have on me, mostly inventory and past app records cotaining all the little things they require. He told me to buy a shovel for behind the seat in addition to the dust pan and hand broom and I never heard from him again. The guy was real cool. He saw I had my act together. He actually made mention that he was suprised he had to drive up from Trenton for little old me. Someone probably thought they could hurt me this way. One thing I know you need is a locking cabinet. If you keep the chems in the garage, and the garage is attached to the house, it needs to be fire rated. Spill Kit, fire ext, no food items nearby, etc.

11-19-2006, 09:06 AM
The inspector called me for an appointment to visit my "storage facility" and when I told him all I had was a jug of round-up and a few jugs of selective herbicides that I store on a high shelf out of reach he ask if my garage had a concrete floor and then decided to meet me at a seven eleven. He checked my license and and my two back pack sprayers and suggested a few things one of which was having a spill kit which I didn't have. I proudly showed him my MSDS's which I had organized in sheet protectors in a notebook and he sarcasticly said "what do you need those for, their worthless". After some conversation about PPE he fill out an inspection sheet and left.

Briarpatch Joe
11-22-2006, 10:37 PM
If you lived in Maryland you would be in deep ----! MDA has a very good and aggressive inspection. They check everything--records, sprayer valves, truck lettering and numbers, IDs for all employes etc
Good Luck
Joe----------Briarpatch Landscaping

11-26-2006, 05:21 PM
What ever happened at the inspection?

JW Lawn
11-26-2006, 07:43 PM
Rising Sun.............I am in COLORA....