SWI 132.1.1 Seed Program
Specific Work Instruction
Official Seed Sampling

5.0 Health and Safety Issues in Seed Sampling

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Health and safety are of paramount concern in any seed sampling situation. Managers and supervisors have the responsibility to verify that all inspection staff receives the appropriate level of health and safety as well as transportation of dangerous goods training for the work duties assigned.

Appropriate safety procedures and precautions must be followed at all times when sampling. The sampler needs to be instructed on how to access any OHS and WHMIS publications, Operations Safety Manuals and the Job Hazard Analyses (JHA) that apply to the tasks performed. When sampling, the sampler must always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a hard hat, approved work boots, goggles, hearing protection, gloves and respirator.

The sampler needs to be aware of and refer to the JHA for safe work procedures, hygiene practices, personal protective equipment/ clothing and safe work practices.

5.1 Sampling of Seed

If the appropriate precautions are not exercised, seed sampling can be hazardous. Health and safety training provided to the sampler will instruct him/her to abide by the following requirements:

  1. advise establishment owners/operator of his/her presence and area in which the sampler is working and when s/he expects to leave the premises;
  2. enquire about potential hazards, emergency response plan/ exits and location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs);
  3. verify that s/he is aware of the fumigation schedule of the warehouse and allow sufficient time to pass after fumigation before sampling. The sampler must read product labels and consult the MSDS for the insecticide, fumigant or other chemicals used in the warehouse to determine what safety measures to follow in the event of an emergency;
  4. exercise caution when sampling or when working in an area where there is treated seed (Section 5.2 provides further details);
  5. use explosion proof flashlights since dust can easily be encountered in inspections;
  6. never attempt to move bags/containers of seed. The sampler is to request that the owner/operator move the seed lot such that it will be stable, accessible and safe to sample. Alternatively, the sampler needs to request that seed be removed from the storage container so that a representative sample may be taken;
  7. request that the seed lot be moved when the seed lot is in bags stacked such that the top row cannot be reached. The sampler must never climb the bags of seed;
  8. be aware of and avoid electrical hazards;
  9. be aware of lighting hazards. Lighting should be at least 500 lux for sampling to take place;
  10. be aware of moving vehicle hazards such as forklifts. The sampler must watch for moving equipment and give this traffic the right of way at all times;
  11. exercise caution when sampling from bins, railcars and trucks;
  12. use proper techniques when carrying equipment and when using sampling equipment; Exercise care to reduce risk of injury when sampling using double tube triers and when cleaning sampling equipment;
  13. carry a cellular phone, when possible, when sampling.

5.2 Handling Treated Seed

Treated seed must be handled according to procedures outlined in the WHMIS Manual and the local JHA document.

5.2.1 Handling Seed Samples Treated with a Pest Control Product

When a person draws a sample of seed which has been treated with a pest control product, care must be taken to minimize the risk of unnecessary exposure to the treatment product. The sampler must take the appropriate precautions as set out on the pest control product label (which should be attached to the seed container) and the WHMIS Manual, as well as the following:

  1. wear protective clothing, e.g., coveralls, gloves, a mask that provides suitable protection;
  2. wear a respirator equipped with air filters approved for pesticide use if prolonged exposure is expected;
  3. documentation for the purposes of identifying the sample (e.g., labels, Sample Submission Form [SSF]) must not be placed inside the sample container;
  4. the sample must be identified as a treated sample. The name of the treatment product must be stated on the SSF, which is available on LSTS (Appendix V). The sample container must also carry sample and treatment identification;
  5. a sample of treated seed must be placed in an inner cloth bag or envelope. The sample container must be closed securely and sealed. The container must be placed in a plastic bag and securely closed.

After sampling treated seed lots, the following precautions must be observed:

  1. wash hands and face;
  2. never smoke, drink or eat prior to washing hands and face;
  3. lean sampling trier and other sampling equipment;
  4. avoid consuming food or drink in plant or office areas exposed to treatment products;
  5. verify that respirator air filters are replaced within the recommended time period suggested by the manufacturer.

5.2.2 Handling Seed Samples Treated with Inoculant

The sampler must follow the instructions below:

  1. the sample must be identified as inoculated. The common name or brand name of the product used must be stated on the SSF;
  2. if the sample is dusty, it must be placed in an inner durable paper or cloth bag or envelope. The container must be closed securely and sealed. The sample container must then be placed in a plastic bag and securely closed.
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