Texas Pest Control Association

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance Regarding Certification of Pesticide Applicators During COVID-19 

EPA recently released guidance providing information on how state lead agencies can make temporary modifications to their certification plans during the public health emergency and still remain in compliance with the Federal Certification and Training Rule.
August 11, 2020
Posted by TPCA Staff
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. -   As reported by NPMA, EPA recently released guidance providing information on how state lead agencies can make temporary modifications their Certification Plans during the public health emergency and still remain in compliance with the Federal Certification and Training Rule. Normally, substantial changes to certification plans must be approved by EPA, but this guidance provides details on conditions under which temporary changes will be pre-approved. Specifically, EPA cites the following changes as pre-approved by the agency for the remainder of the public health emergency:
 
  • Relying upon training or testing conducted by or approved by another certifying authority for applicator certification or recertification;
  • Offering remote (e.g., internet-based) testing or testing administered by a third party as long as the requirements of 40 CFR 171.103 related to exam administration and security are satisfied;
  • Offering remote (e.g., internet-based) training rather than, or in addition to, face-to-face training for applicator certification or recertification;
  • Extending the duration of the certification/recertification period so those with expiring certifications would still have a valid certification, so long as no certification extends beyond five years (per 40 CFR 171.107(a)); and
  • Where existing state, tribal or federal agency requirements are more stringent than the requirements of 40 CFR part 171, any modification to make the state, tribal or federal agency certification program consistent with 40 CFR part 171, including:
  • Suspending any or all certification requirements for applicators of general use pesticides (i.e., non-RUPs); and
  • Allowing use of RUPs under the direct supervision of a certified applicator in accordance with 40 CFR 171.201.
 
NPMA reported that it has been working closely with state associations through the NPMA State Policy Affairs Representatives (SPAR) on certification and testing issues across the country. This guidance will help State Lead Agencies implement modifications to their programs that will ensure that our industry can continue to provide essential pest control services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

 

Join us on September 15, 2020 for the virtual version of TPCA's Lubbock Workshop.
We are working to keep you and your employees safe while providing you and opportunity to get your Annual CEUs 

Register Today!
Schedule of Events
7:30-7:45am Log in
7:45 - 8:00am Welcome & Announcements
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8:00 - 3:00pm | 8-Hr Technician Training, Dale Burnett(Study Guide included in registration. Book will be mailed to the address included with registration a week prior to the course date) 
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8:15 - 9:15am | Food & Safety and Remote Monitoring, Scott Broaddus | (General Laws & Regs)

9:30 - 10:30am | IPM for Hard to Kill Insects, Joe Barile | (General IPM)

10:45 - 11:45am | Mosquito Control Solutions by Bayer, Dr. Kurt Vandock | (Pest)

12:00 - 1:00pm | Termite Control Strategies, Dr. John Paige, III | (Termite)

1:00pm - 1:30pm Lunch Break

1:30 - 2:30pm | Fire Ant Biology & Control, Dr. John Paige, III | (L&O)

2:45 - 3:45 | A Program Approach to Turfgrass Weed Control, Gary Brooks | (Weed)

4:00 - 5:00pm | Planning & Executing a Safe & Effective Fumigation, Kyle Meers | (Commodity Fumigation)
 

Only Pay for the CEU courses you need  8Hr - Tech Training
$25 Member Each & $30 Non-Member Each $140 Member & $170 Non-Member
 
 
TDA SPCS CEU Credits:
 1 General Laws & Regs, 1 General Safety, 1 Pest, 1 Termite, 1 L&O, 1 Weed, 1 Fumigation
NDMA Credits & Ag Credits Coming Soon
Schedule subject to change

Are you an Allied Vendor interested in Sponsoring? Check out our sponsorship opportunities here!



Start your registration here!

 

 

 

 

Zoom Happy Hour

May 13th @ 4:00pm

It's been a while. Or has it been a week? We are not sure what day it is anymore.
 
Nevertheless, we want to see how y'all are doing! Let's all get together and catch up.
 
If you have never been to a TPCA event, this is the perfect time to get to know us!
Register here
 
In today's quickly changing pace of online classes in place of in-person classes, we must adjust to new situations and learn those new unspoken rules of webinar etiquette. 

These 5 tips can make your CEU Webinar more enjoyable and productive. 

1. Log in Early - Set a reminder to go off anywhere from 10-30 minutes before the schedule event start time. This will help you find a stopping point to what you are currently doing, transition to find the online link, code and password to input and will give yourself time to download the software if you do not already have it installed. If you already have it installed, the time before the webinar will give you a chance to write down any questions you may want answered during the webinar.  

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2. Mute your audio If you are joining a large webinar, some presenters may ask that your audio. This is helpful to avoid unwanted background noises that can distract other participants. 
3. Remember, there is a camera facing you - Most computers, tablets or phones allow access to the camera to show your face while upon joining a webinar. This can come as a surprise to others if at any point during the webinar you get up and show all of the attendees you're wearing a #ZoomMullet - business on top, party on the bottom.

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4. Be active in the Q&ARespond to questions or comments just like you would in-person. If there is something you want to know, but do not want to disrupt the presenter, put it in the chat so at the end, if the presenter hasn't touched on the subject at all, they know that is something they need to discuss. 

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5. Provide Feedback - It can be hard for the host to tell how the experience was from the attendee's viewpoint. Help us improve our webinars to match your needs by letting us know what worked well and what didn't. Were there any audio problems? Presenter going too fast? Are there topics you would like to see us cover? Let us know so we can work towards providing great content for you and your company! Email us at [email protected] 

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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE


 

Like you, TPCA is concerned about the growing spread of the coronavirus and how it will impact our daily lives, both at home and work. For those home service industries this is a concerning time. I believe our best defense is to remain calm and act with knowledge not to overreact with fear and panic. The COVID-19 virus infects people of all ages. However, evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease. These are older people; and those with underlying medical conditions. TPCA is committed to sharing vital information and updates with our members as it becomes available. 

TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Coronavirus & Disinfectant/Sanitation Services 
(April 7, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Performing Pest Management in Challenging Times Webinar
(March 27, 2020 | Updated March 30, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Shelter-in-place/Stay-at-home Orders
(March 24, 2020 | Updated March 25, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Coronavirus & Essential Services
(March 20, 2020) 
Update from the Governor of Texas 
(March 19, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Coronavirus Webinar
(March 18, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus: Coronavirus & Essential Services
(March 17, 2020)
TPCA Update on Coronavirus
(March 12, 2020)
 

Below are the best resources to help further educate you on the facts of COVID-19. Do not depend on social media, traditional news outlets or politicians.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

World Health Organization 

Coronavirus Tracker

Texas Department of State Health Services

A couple of quick tips to keep the work place safer:

    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

 

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • The CDC advises employers to emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand-hygiene by all employees using the following actions:
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • All employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).  Don’t shake hands with others during this time.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • The CDC has published a coughing and sneezing etiquette and has a clean hands webpage containing more information.
  • The CDC also recommends routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended by the CDC at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly-used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
       
  • The CDC further recommends as follows:
    • Allow flexible use of sick leave policies during this time.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home.
    • Employers should be aware that more employees will stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
    • Use this opportunity to communicate with your employees about seasonal flu prevention strategies, such as minimizing contact, not shaking hands and engaging in sound hygiene and sanitation.  (The CDC states that statistics demonstrate seasonal flu poses a far greater and more immediate threat to your employees’ health at this time than does Covid-19. 
    • Do not panic or overreact but rather engage in sound business contingency planning.  Begin by developing contingency plans about how you will operate in the event absenteeism rates greatly exceed those of a normal flu season.  
    • Develop a plan for communicating with your employees if a major pandemic breaks out.  Plan for worse case scenarios now so you can effectively respond to what will likely be a rapidly changing situation. To do this, your management should anticipate and prepare for how you will answer the plethora of questions that will almost certainly be raised. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and similar state laws, employers have a general duty and obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment, even when the work occurs outside the employer’s physical premises. Furthermore, under these health and safety laws, employers must not place their employees in situations that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death.  

In sum, the CDC recommends planning ahead for the worst, but do not overreact by implementing broad-based bans and making business decisions about employees that are not based on statistical realities.

 

Live updates from the World Health Organization 

Live case reporting from the CDC

FAQ's regarding COVID-19

View the list of EPA-registered disinfectant products 


 

How to Prepare for Workplace Safeguards

  • The CDC advises employers to emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand-hygiene by all employees using the following actions:
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • All employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).  Don’t shake hands with others during this time.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • The CDC has published a coughing and sneezing etiquette and has a clean hands webpage containing more information.
  • The CDC also recommends routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended by the CDC at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly-used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
       
  • The CDC further recommends as follows:
    • Allow flexible use of sick leave policies during this time.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home.
    • Employers should be aware that more employees will stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
    • Use this opportunity to communicate with your employees about seasonal flu prevention strategies, such as minimizing contact, not shaking hands and engaging in sound hygiene and sanitation.  (The CDC states that statistics demonstrate seasonal flu poses a far greater and more immediate threat to your employees’ health at this time than does Covid-19. 
    • Do not panic or overreact but rather engage in sound business contingency planning.  Begin by developing contingency plans about how you will operate in the event absenteeism rates greatly exceed those of a normal flu season.  
    • Develop a plan for communicating with your employees if a major pandemic breaks out.  Plan for worse case scenarios now so you can effectively respond to what will likely be a rapidly changing situation. To do this, your management should anticipate and prepare for how you will answer the plethora of questions that will almost certainly be raised. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and similar state laws, employers have a general duty and obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment, even when the work occurs outside the employer’s physical premises. Furthermore, under these health and safety laws, employers must not place their employees in situations that are likely to cause serious physical harm or death.  

In sum, the CDC recommends planning ahead for the worst, but do not overreact by implementing broad-based bans and making business decisions about employees that are not based on statistical realities.

 
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