Quality System Procedure 142.1: Pedigreed Seed Crop Inspection Procedures - Appendices
Appendix I: Health and Safety Considerations for Inspectors

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Part I - Job Hazard Analysis for Crop Inspection

Sequence of Steps Associated Hazards Preventative Measures
1. Notify grower of visit and organize all necessary documents/equipment/ mapsN/AN/A
2. Drive to inspection location (farm)Road conditions, driver fatigue, vehicle conditionDriver training, ensure fleet is properly maintained, and contains a fleet safety kit
3. Inform grower of your arrival and intended workConfrontation with owner or company employeesTry to avoid arguments. If differing opinions ensue, refer such persons to the regulations or a senior inspector. If necessary, leave premises and reschedule inspection.
4. Drive/ walk to fieldRoad conditions, weather conditions. Slip, trip hazard - uneven ground.

Ergonomic concern - lifting, carrying equipment. Working alone, other farm machinery.

Same as # 2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including footwear. Use proper lifting and carrying techniques as outlined in the Safe Work Practices (SWP). Be aware of surroundings, notify owner of intended fields to be inspected and approximate time for completion. Carry a cellular phone.
5. Conduct a field survey and determine travel patternWeather conditions. Working alone. Other machinery, livestock.Wear appropriate clothing and PPE. Carry a cellular phone. Be aware of surroundings.
6. Conduct crop inspectionWorking alone. Weather conditions, ground conditions. Pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and insects.Carry a cellular phone. Wear appropriate clothing, sunblock, PPE. Prior to inspection, have owner send all relevant spray schedules of fields to be inspected. Make sure adequate time is allowed between sprays and inspection.
7. Fill out reports (at inspection location)Weather conditionsWear appropriate clothing, PPE, try to fill reports in fleet if available
8. Return to farm/inform owner of completion of inspectionConfrontation with owner or company employeesSame as # 3

General Environmental Conditions: Working alone, extreme weather conditions, ground conditions, fertilizers and pesticides, insects, farm machinery.

Part II - Safe Work Practices for Crop Inspection

All inspection/ testing staff must be aware of the hazards in the environment in which they will be working. Pre-operational checks of the work area are essential to identify unsafe conditions or situations. Unsafe conditions and situations must be corrected before inspection or testing is started. Work should not proceed on third party premises until unsafe conditions and situations are corrected.

Following safe work practices combined with on-the-job training will help reduce the chance of an injury happening to an inspector. The following safe work practices are to be observed when performing testing or inspection tasks outlined in this manual.

Driving and Fleet Requirements

Always be careful where and how you park your vehicle. When you initially stop at the farm to check tags, drive in and turn around. Park so that you can walk in front of your vehicle and drive forward when you leave. Always watch for children and animals that may run out in front of you.

Be sure not to block any access routes (driveways, laneways, etc.). Do not park in front of implement sheds, farm equipment, milk houses or garages.

All inspectors must complete the Defensive Driving Course on the computer as a reference

Training Requirements

Training to perform crop inspection must include as a minimum:

  • completion of the Grower's Pesticide Safety Course;
  • participation in skin cancer prevention training;
  • participation in heat stress prevention training;
  • review of the CFIA Sun Protection Standard;
  • review of the Job Hazard Analysis and Safe Work Practices;
  • an on-the-job hazard awareness walkaround.

Personal Protective Equipment

Inspector must ensure they wear and are trained in the use, care and maintenance of the personal protective equipment as per the scales of entitlement.

  • CSA approved protective footwear;
  • rain suit;
  • coveralls;
  • insect repellent.

Sun Protection - Personal Protective Equipment

  • sun hat;
  • sun screen (SPF 30 or greater);
  • eye protection- includes CSA Z 94.3 & UV protection;
  • 2 litre jug of potable water to drink.

Slip and Fall Prevention

Inspector must reduce the risk of slip, trip and fall accidents by:

  • having equipment stored properly while carrying it into the field;
  • wearing CSA approved protective footwear;
  • keeping footwear tread in good condition- replace at 30% wear;
  • being aware of irrigation pipes and other field hazards;
  • keeping work area and walkways free from debris;
  • following safe work practices.

Third Party Premise Hazards

The inspector must inform the owner/ operator of farm of where inspection is to occur and the expected time of completion. Some areas are quite isolated and it could be difficult to track down an inspector in case of emergency. The inspector must leave a daily schedule of the crops for inspection and approximate times at the CFIA home office at the start of each day. If available, the inspector should carry a cell phone. All inspectors who work alone should take the St. John's Ambulance First Aid and Basic Rescue course.

The inspector must try to avoid getting into arguments with owners/ operators of farm/field. If differing opinions cannot be resolved quickly, the inspector must refer such persons to the pertinent sections of the Regulations or to a senior inspector. If necessary, the inspector must leave the premises and reschedule the inspection.

Heat Stress

Heat stress occurs when the body has difficulties regulating its temperature. It can cause disorders ranging from heat cramps to heat stroke. This occurs when heat causes the body's cooling system to fail, so that the core temperature of the body rises to critical levels of 41°C or more.

Symptoms of heat stroke include: confusion, irrational behaviour, hot and dry skin (usually with a lack of sweating), loss of consciousness and collapse. Heat stroke and heat related disorders are more likely to occur among workers who have not been acclimatized over at least two weeks.

Adequate water (a cup every twenty minutes) should be consumed by the heat exposed worker. Workers should wear loose fitting, tightly woven, lightly coloured clothing. They should ensure they take adequate rest breaks. Refer to attached documents on heat stress.


The inspector must not enter a field that smells of a recent chemical application until the inspector is sure it is safe. The inspector must contact the grower ahead of the time the field will be entered to ensure that pesticides have not been sprayed. This may involve contacting the grower the day before the inspection is scheduled.

Wherever any pesticide has been applied in a field, the grower must ensure that information on the substance, the nature of its harmful effects and precautions for safety are communicated to any inspector who may be entering the fields. The inspector should not depend on the fields being posted with warning signs after they have been sprayed. It is not mandatory by law to post fields, therefore, the farmer is under no legal obligation to post their fields after spraying.

Emergency Procedures

The inspector must be familiar with the emergency procedures of the premise on which the inspector is working and the following:

  • if such a plan does not exist, the inspector must ensure s/he has his own escape route, during all weather conditions and vehicle accessibility;
  • let the CFIA home office know the daily inspection schedule in case of an emergency;
  • ensure the CFIA home office has an emergency contact number (i.e., spouse, children);
  • the use of a two-way communication device, such as a cellular phone or a two-way pager is recommended.

The inspector always have the right to refuse to perform an inspection for occupational safety and health reasons. If the inspector has doubts about his/her safety, or a co-worker's safety, the supervisor must be notified as to the safety issue. The safety issue will be addressed and resolved before the inspector begins work.

Part III - Working in Sun and Heat

Heat and Sun Exposure Hazards

Many CFIA employees work in very hot and humid conditions in abattoirs or walk through acres of crops isolated and alone on very hot days. Ability to withstand heat is affected by:

  • health and fitness level;
  • food and fluid intake;
  • use of alcohol or drugs;
  • pregnancy;
  • history of heat-induced illness.

Hazards from the Sun

  • skin cancers, cataracts, suppression of the immune system, sunburn, wrinkles, dehydration and heat stroke.
  • harmful rays reflect off water, snow, sand or cement and can penetrate light cloud cover, fog and haze.

Heat Stress Symptoms

The inspector must notify the supervisor if experiencing these symptoms and take the necessary steps to protect him/herself: thirst, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, irrational behavior, cramps, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, hot and dry skin, loss of consciousness.

Safety Precautions

  • acclimatize to heat over a few days after returning from time off work;
  • keep fit;
  • wear white in the sun. Long sleeves and large-brimmed hats made of tightly woven fabric block the sun's rays and allow perspiration to evaporate;
  • scarves or wrist bands can be soaked or filled with ice or cold water;
  • wear UV sunglasses;
  • apply sun screen 30SPF+ before exposure and every 2 hrs during periods of exposure;
  • reschedule labour-intensive jobs to cooler parts of the day and year. This may include redesigning work/rest and staffing schedules;
  • drink 250 ml every 20 min. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages;
  • eat light meals more frequently throughout the day.

Sun and Heat Hazards

Inflammation caused by an increase in the flow of blood beneath the skin.
Increased Aging of Skin
With repeated exposure, skin becomes thin and elastic, resulting in blemishes and wrinkles.
Skin Cancer
There is a 1 in 7 risk of developing skin cancer in your life time. The current risk is greater due to more time spent outside and the thinner ozone layer. There are three types of skin cancer linked to sun exposure.
Basal Cell Cancer
Raised hard red or red-grey wound on body. Usually does not spread easily, easily treatable.
Squamous Cell Cancer
Blemishes develop into rough scaly patches with small areas of open wound that do not heal. Usually curable if treated in time.
Malignant Melanoma
Mole or pigment spot that begins to bleed, grow or change its colour, shape or texture. Rare, but of serious concern. Must be detected early for chance of cure.
Risk Factors
  • blonde, red or light-brown hair;
  • easily freckled;
  • large number of moles;
  • family history;
  • tendency to burn;
  • use of tanning devices;
  • long periods of daily sun exposure;
  • several blistering sunburns as a child.

Examine Your Skin Regularly

Use a small mirror to see your back or ask your partner to examine it. Consult your physician about anything that looks suspicious.

Part IV - Working in the Out-of-Doors

Vehicle Use

  • Pull completely off the road and use emergency flashers when parking on the shoulder;
  • Wear a safety vest;
  • Check vehicle condition frequently to ensure in good working order;
  • Communicate your workplan to your supervisor and check in at planned intervals.


  • Observe the area, including around the porch and under cars or hedges.
  • Make noise when getting out of your vehicle. Make sure you can quickly retreat to the vehicle if necessary.
  • If confronted, stand your ground. Back away slowly. Hold your clipboard in front of you.

Preventing a Bear Encounter

  • Make noise! Clap, call out, whistle, sing or talk loudly - especially near streams, dense vegetation and berry patches, on windy days, and in areas of low visibility.
  • Listen and watch for bear signs - tracks, droppings, diggings, torn-up logs, turned-over rocks. Leave the area if the signs are fresh.
  • Leave the area if you come across large dead animals.
  • If the bear has not detected you, do not shout to attract its attention. Back off slowly towards cover.

Handling an Encounter

  • Stay calm. Do not alarm the bear. They may bluff by charging or be defensive by growling, jaw-snapping or laying their ears back. The bear has been frightened. This is an attempt to establish dominance without fighting, thus avoiding injury. Allow it a chance to retreat.
  • Speak to the bear calmly and firmly. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you.
  • Back away slowly, never run as this may trigger a pursuit... and you will lose.
  • Keep your pack on for protection.

Handling a Bear Contact

  • If you happen to startle a bear - play dead. Lie on you stomach with legs apart. Put your hands behind your neck. This makes you less vulnerable to being flipped over. Remain still.
  • If attack lasts more than 2 minutes - fight back!
  • If the bear is stalking you and attacks - try to escape into a building, car or up a tree. Do not play dead. Fight back!
  • Intimidate the bear: shout, extend your arms to look big; hit it with a branch or rock. Do whatever it takes.

Bear Spray

  • Be confident you can rapidly draw your spray.
  • If the bear is within 6-8 m and closing, a couple of short blasts at its face may discourage the charge.
  • Do not discharge into the wind.

Cougar Encounter

  • Look big. Talk calmly. Slowly back away.
  • If the cougar becomes more assertive, shout loudly, wave and throw things.
  • Convince the cougar that you are not prey.


  • Wear light-colored clothing to spot them easily.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt.
  • If embedded, use tweezers to grasp it near its head or mouth and pull it straight out with a slow and steady motion.

Insect Bites

  • Avoid colognes. Wear insect repellent containing DEET and apply 20-30 minutes after applying sunscreen.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirt and pants.
  • Wear white or neutral colors.
  • If stung by a bee, scrape out the stinger. Clean the area with soapy water. Apply cold for 15 min. Take a pain killer or antihistamine for itching and swelling. For serious reactions, get help immediately.


Take cover indoors or in your vehicle when possible. Get out of aluminum frames of doorways and windows. Do not touch any metal parts of the vehicle. Tires do not provide protection from lightning (nor do rubber-soled shoes.) Turn the radio off.

Avoid trees. Lightning often hits trees, travels down the trunk and may explode the bark. The charge then spreads out on the ground. Go to a low lying area; brush is better than trees because it has "disbursed streamers" which do not act as lightning rods. Get off ridges, peaks, roofs or towers. Avoid rocks and being near others.

Stay low. Put your ankles and knees together and crouch down or drop to your knees and bend forward, putting your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground because electrical current from a strike can easily travel through your vital organs.

Get rid of the metal objects. This includes your ball cap with a metal rivet around the hole at the top, your keys and umbrella with metal in it. It is safe to use your cellphone.

Avoid Rattlesnakes

  • Rattlesnakes can be found in hot, dry regions.
  • Walk in areas where the ground is clear, so you can see where you step. Check the shade of your car. Do not put your hands in areas where you cannot see, such as ledges, cracks or holes.
  • Use a walking stick to alert snakes and other animals of your presence.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long heavy pants, high boots and gloves when moving rocks or brush.

First Aid for Snakebites

  • Wash bite with clean water and soap.
  • Immobilize area and keep it lower than the heart.
  • If the bite is on the hand or arm remove any rings, watches or tight clothing. Get medical help immediately.
  • If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, wrap a bandage (2-4 inches) above the bite to slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow. A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.

Part V - Additional Information

Chemical Usage

Before entering fields, inspectors should be aware of the grower's plan for pesticide application. If a field has been treated recently, the inspector should be informed of the product applied and of the safe re-entry time. Appendix II contains a listing of commonly used pesticides. It is the inspector's responsibility to ensure that the field is safe to inspect and that they will not be putting themselves at risk by completing the inspection. If growers have an application planned, they must inform the inspector of this so that inspections can be rescheduled and to ensure that inspectors can be aware of spray planes in the area.

Environmental Risks

Inspectors may be faced with unexpected risks. It is important that inspectors know how to deal with these risks. In any situation, the inspector must remain calm, and seek the appropriate help. Common risks that inspectors face are insect bites and confrontations with wildlife such as bears, wild turkeys, and lynx.

Bees and Other Insects

For some crop species, bee hives are placed in the field to facilitate cross-pollination. However, bees may represent a safety and health risk. Early mornings or cloudy days are better times for inspection, rather then the heat of the afternoon, as bees are most active at this time. The use of netting over exposed skin is recommended if the netting does not cover the face, as this netting interferes with detecting off types during crop inspection. It should be noted that some bee species are more aggressive than others (native bumble bee vs Argentina bees).

Depending on the species of bee, some hives are large and clearly visible in the field, while other bee hives are small and hidden in the grass along isolation zones in the perimeter of the field. When one or two bees bounce off a person, this is an indication or warning that the person is too close to their hive.

If being attacked by bees, the inspector should run to a densely wooded area, water or vehicle. The inspector should never lie down in the field and try to cover himself.

It may be useful for an inspector to carry a current Epi-Pen and/or over-the-counter allergy tablets. Epi-Pens are made so one can inject quickly through denim jeans, as someone who is allergic must act promptly. First signs of severe allergic reaction are numbness of the lips, tongue, face and swelling of the throat. Use of an Epi-Pen will only provide enough time to reach a hospital. Allergy tablets are ineffective if the throat is swollen.

In some regions, an insect known as the blister beetle may be encountered. If one rubs against this black beetle, it may cause skin blisters. Some people may have an allergic reaction to this insect.

West Nile Virus

Persons who work outdoors where there is increased risk of exposure to mosquito bites (e.g., where there is standing water, stagnant pools, or in swampy or wooded areas), or whose occupation may place them at risk of infection by mosquito bite or by handling of dead birds or animals should consider the following recommendations.:

  • Wear long sleeved shirts and full length trousers (two layers of clothing make biting more difficult but obviously this may be hazardous in warm weather or while doing heavy work). In hot conditions where there is an increased risk, special suits of a mesh material with elasticized cuffs and attached hoods can be obtained.
  • High boots and taping or sealing the ends of trousers is useful to prevent mosquito bites. Wear light colored clothing as it is less attractive to mosquitos.
  • Use personal insect repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide and related compounds) on exposed skin following label directions carefully. Keep repellent away from eyes and mouth. Wash your hands after applying repellent and before eating and drinking. Personal insect repellent products contain DEET in varying concentrations. When applied to exposed skin, products with lower concentrations of DEET are as effective at repelling mosquitoes as products containing higher concentrations of DEET. However, products with higher concentrations of DEET remain effective for longer periods of time. For example, products containing 10% DEET technical (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide and related compounds) provide approximately 3 hours of protection whereas products containing 30% DEET technical provide approximately 6 hours of protection. Adults should not use products containing more than 30% DEET technical.

Note: Refer to the safety tips as indicated in Health Canada's Information sheet "Safety Tips on Using Personal Insect Repellents".

Always read the insect repellent product label and follow the directions carefully.Certain DEET containing products can be applied to clothing. Read and follow instructions carefully. Keep repellent away from eyes and mouth. Wash your hands after applying repellent.

If practical, work outdoors when it is cooler and there is brisk air movement or when there is strong sunlight. Mosquitoes are less active in these weather conditions. If practical, stay indoors at dawn and dusk and in the early evening hours when mosquitoes are more active.


For people with a more severe case, symptoms could include the rapid onset of any of the following: severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, nausea, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, loss of consciousness, lack of coordination, muscle weakness and paralysis. Other symptoms that have been identified include movement disorders, Parkinsonism, poliomyelitis-like syndrome and muscle degeneration. Anyone who has a sudden onset of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

How it Spreads

West Nile (WN) virus is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds which carry the virus.

Lyme Disease

Caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is an emerging tick-borne zoonosis and is endemic in the north eastern and Great Lakes regions of the US. The disease can be characterized by special rash (i.e., erythema migrans) at an early stage. In the later stage, however, the disease involves major organ systems such as musculoskeletal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.

Driving and Walking Hazards

There are specific hazards in driving and walking during crop inspection. In and around farm roads, there may be hidden rocks, culverts, irrigation pipes or ditches. Farm bridges will vary as to the quality of their maintenance and may be unstable. Inspectors should be alert for animal burrows that represent a tripping hazard. Inspectors must never drive through a swathed crop of loose hay because of the potential to lose traction at any time.

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