All professional landscapers must heed the laws and regulations set forth by the state of Arizona. The state has a significant body of laws to protect the environment and consumer rights with regards to these activities. If you own a landscaping or an exterminator company, here are several things to be aware of:
Understand the Definition of Pest Control
The landscaping and pest control laws in Arizona have a precise definition for what amounts to a Pest Control Company. Pest management is defined under the law as the “management of health-related pests,” including services provided on land, in water or inside homes. Pest management does not include applying pesticides for agricultural purposes or at golf courses. It’s important to know this definition when you run a company. If your business is registered as a pest control company, and if you go to control pests at golf courses in Arizona, that would be illegal.
The Companies are Responsible
In Arizona, the company registered as a landscaping or pest control business is responsible for its practices. The employees the business hires to work on gardens and houses will not be liable if a legal case comes up. In some cases, licensing violations can apply to individuals, but only if certain criteria are met (such as how many gallons of pesticide one carries). These laws do not apply to regular homeowners who spray pesticides or herbicides on their lawns for their own personal use and benefit.
Know What Chemicals are Approved for Use
The state issues control on what chemicals can be used to control pests or weeds. For example, landscaping companies may use herbicides labeled as “restricted use” or “danger.” But appropriate licenses must be obtained to apply these substances. Plus, there will be other rules set by the Office of Pest Management (OPM) that companies must follow. Failing to follow rules and regulation will result in penalties or litigation. Consultation with an experienced pest control law firm is essential when making these decisions on your company’s best practices.
Mitigate any risks to your businesses by getting insured. It’s inevitable that problems might come up when handling dangerous chemicals on other people’s property. So all landscaping and pest control businesses must have a good insurance coverage. Make sure the insurance provides coverage for the actual costs incurred. For example, there’s no point in buying a business insurance policy for $10,000 if it only covers about $100 in damages. Understand how the damages are paid. For example, know whether the policy provides cash value for damages or replacement costs. In addition, your company may need to get covered for employees, tort liability and similar issues. Consult with an attorney to make sure your business is covered for all potential risks if and when bad things do actually happen.
Evaluate Chemical Use
Businesses should be careful regarding the types of chemicals that are being used to control pests or weeds. Even if your company is authorized to use it, the applicators must be careful not to use chemicals that might potentially cause issues like allergy reactions. Safety precautions, of course, should be carefully practiced. Use the least harmful chemical first before resorting to more harsh ones when controlling for pests and weed. Your employees and agents must be trained early, and often, and you must ALWAYS have a paper trail evidencing that you conducted such training for the inevitable OPM audit and inquiry into your company’s operations.
Hire a local attorney to review your businesses license, insurance policy and best practices to make sure they are being conducted according to state law. Call Canterbury Law Group today at 480-744-7711.