FOLEY, Minn. — The topic of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one that should never be overlooked. Every year in Minnesota we utilize pesticides in farming operations which require handling, applying, and storage in an environmentally responsible and safe manner. With all of the care that is given to ensuring that we are safely using these pesticides in our environment it can be easy to forget to protect ourselves. The label always specifies what PPE must be worn to safely handle the pesticide that is referred to by the label. Respirators are often on that list, but may be overlooked as they can be more difficult to have access.
Respirators are necessary for using certain pesticides safely, but we often lack the proper resources to help with proper respirator selection, fit testing, and medical evaluation. To help fill this gap, the University of Minnesota Extension is offering free respirator fit workshops. In these free workshops, we will train rural healthcare providers, co-op health and safety managers, and others to provide fit testing and other respirator support across the state. I would specifically encourage those who apply their own pesticides to show up and take advantage of this opportunity. Workshops will include: hands-on fit test demos, interactive sessions on respirator selection and current respirator issues in agricultural areas, practice time with supervision from occupational safety experts, and more.
All workshops are from 8:30am to 4pm with free lunch provided. Locations and dates include:
* Alexandria, March 19th, Alexandria Public Works Meeting Room, 526 Willow Dr, Alexandria, MN 56308
* Little Falls, March 20th, Initiative Foundation, 405 1st St SE, Little Falls, MN 56345
* Hutchinson, March 26th, Hutchinson Event Center, 1005 MN-15, Hutchinson, MN 55350
* Mankato, March 28th, Historic Blue Earth County Courthouse, 204 S 5th St, Mankato, MN 56001
* Worthington, April 2nd, Regional Extension Office, 1527 Prairie Dr Worthington, MN 56187
* Marshall, April 3rd, Merit Center, 1001 W Erie Rd, Marshall, MN 56258
I would encourage growers in our area to attend any of the locations that meet your needs. However, there is one workshop in Little Falls for those in the Stearns, Benton, and Morrison county area for your convenience. Pre-registration is not necessary, but is encouraged, to help with lunch. Follow this link for workshop registration:z.umn.edu/respiratorworkshops.
— Nathan Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension
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