The state's Department of Agriculture fined three Kennewick businesses for violating pesticide use regulations, the agency announced this week.
The state issued a $900 fine to Badger Mountain Vineyards, $1,000 to Baker Produce and $2,600 to Kelth Orchards. All three were fined for not following worker protection standards during pesticide application, said department spokesman Mike Louisell.
The state agency regularly sends out inspectors to farms during those times when farmers spray most of their pesticides, to enforce federal rules protecting employees, Louisell said.
In April, inspectors found that employees of Baker Produce didn't have all the required emergency equipment -- such as eye-wash stations -- on the site where they used pesticides. The employees also had to transport contaminated equipment in their private cars to a decontamination site, which is against the law.
In May, inspectors found that pesticide handlers at Kelth Orchards weren't wearing chemical-resistant gloves on the job. The company previously had been cited for pesticide violations, which drove up the fine, Louisell said.
But rather than collect the money from the company, the state agency allowed Kelth to use the $2,600 to buy more respirators and other safety equipment for workers to avoid other violations, Louisell said.
In June, inspectors found Badger Mountain Vineyards didn't have proper decontamination equipment at the sites where workers used pesticides. The company then asked the agency to hold a safety training course for its employees so everyone would know which precautions to take.
The department provided that training the following week, Louisell said.