Introduction to C&L Rule Proposal

The proposed Certification and Licensing (“C&L”) rule takes parts from three current Pesticide rules, plus draft new language, with goals of both updating the requirements and gathering all certification, recertification, and licensing requirements into one rule instead of three.

The changes proposed will modernize the certification categories and revise continuing education requirements to better assure New Mexicans that certified professionals get continuing education applicable to the types of pest control they actually perform.  It will require commercial technicians – individuals who perform pest control in homes, businesses, schools, etc. under the supervision of commercial applicators – to get continuing education.  It will create new definitions and clarify and make more consistent existing definitions.  It will also consolidate all licensing, certification and recertification requirements into one rule so pest management professionals can more easily understand how to obtain and maintain their licenses.

The three rules affected by this proposal are 21.17.50 NMAC, Pesticides; 21.17.51 NMAC, Control of Wood Destroying Pests; and 21.17.53 NMAC, CEUs for Pesticide Applicators. These three rules contain other requirements (not pertaining to certification or licensing) which would not be affected by this proposal.

NMDA feels these changes will improve existing requirements for certifying and licensing pesticide applicators by strengthening continuing education requirements, updating definitions and categories, and ensuring training for pest control workers. Features of the proposed rule include:

Spell out responsibilities of the supervising commercial applicator toward his technicians.  While most supervisors provide the training and equipment their technicians need, this would make it a requirement.

Pesticide applicator licensees must be 18 years old unless authorized by director.  Youth are at greater risk from pesticides and other hazards for several reasons, including well-documented biological and behavioral factors.  Department of Labor standards applicable to most industries, except agriculture, require workers be at least 18 to perform hazardous jobs.  Any person employed in agriculture must be 16 to handle a toxicity category I or II pesticide, and NIOSH has recommended a minimum age of 16 for less-hazardous toxicity category III pesticides as well.  Also, youths typically cannot be treated as adults for purposes of enforcement action; state law may require consent of a parent or guardian before they can even be interviewed.  For these reasons NMDA is proposing a minimum age requirement of 18 years for pesticide applicator licenses.  However, NMDA recognizes the independent nature of family businesses and believes that parents are able to make decisions about what activities their children can safely engage in, and will provide the protections that other employers may not.  The proposal would exempt a license applicant who is employed by his or her parent or guardian from the minimum age requirement.

The Director would have authority to make an exception to the minimum licensing age requirement as with other NMDA requirements.

Revise CEU requirements.  Commercial, noncommercial, & public applicators and pest management consultants would need minimum of 4 CEUs annually, consisting of 1 CEU in laws/rules, 1 in Core education, and 2 in each category they are certified in. Commercial operator/technicians would need CEUs also (currently they don’t need CEUs unless they are Termite Technicians). Operators would need minimum of 3 CEUs: 1 in laws/rules and 2 in Core education or a category. Termite Techs would need 2 Termite CEUs (vs. 4 in current regulation).

Categories grouped for recertification.  CEUs would be awarded for Structural, Ornamental & Turf, and/or Agricultural groups. For example CEUs awarded for the O & T Group would cover categories 3A, 3B, 2, and 6B; for the Ag Group categories 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, 6B, PRAP and PRRO would be covered. This will allow applicators to get their education in more focused areas of pest control without requiring excessive time away from their businesses.

New certification categories including aerial application, agricultural & bulk commodity fumigation, wildlife pests, and predator control will more accurately reflect modern pest control activities.  Some existing categories are clarified or worded more consistently.

For recertification workshops, the current limitation of only 1 CEU for in-house training would be removed; change minimum CEUs granted to a workshop from ½ unit to 1 unit.

Increase minimum coverage for commercial applicator liability insurance to bring coverage amounts up to a more realistic level.  Many insurers do not even offer coverage as low as the current law allows.

New or reworded definitions including certified person, continuing education unit, core, direct supervision, reciprocity, and supervising commercial applicator.

NMDA began discussing proposed changes with pest management professionals back in 2010, and introduced the first draft of the proposed rule in 2011.  Comments were solicited and encouraged, and a number of changes were made in response.  A new version of the proposed rule was introduced in 2012, and NMDA has discussed the proposed changes at industry meetings whenever staff are invited to speak. This 2014 version incorporates more improvements and response to comments, and represents our latest effort at improving this vital rule.

Please send comments on the proposal to NMDA at comments@nmda.nmsu.edu.

 

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