Anticipated anhydrous safety training starting online

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is offering online training to help growers and grower farm operators who handle anhydrous ammonia fulfill a new state safety certification requirement. As expected, IDOA began offering the free online training Jan. 1.

In mid-November, FarmWeek reported the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules finalization of mandatory safety training for Illinois growers and grower farm operators who transport or apply anhydrous ammonia, or otherwise maintain anhydrous ammonia equipment. Those individuals must be trained in safe operating practices and steps needed during an emergency or a leak before April 1, 2022. A training certificate is valid for three years, then followed by refresher training every three years.

Illinois Farm Bureau worked with IDOA to offer online training on the IDOA website at no cost to growers or grower farm operators. IFB launched an information campaign with county Farm Bureaus to raise awareness of the new safety training requirement and available online training.

“Although the requirement doesn’t take effect until 2022, I encourage everyone who must complete the training to do so as soon as possible,” IDOA Acting Director Jerry Costello II said in a statement. “Anhydrous ammonia is potentially dangerous if not handled properly, and the safety lessons taught in this training could prevent serious injury or even death.”

Individuals may access the training program by a link posted on IDOA’s homepage. They will be directed to a portal with step-by-step instructions to create a user account and view the training. Additional information includes answers to frequently asked questions and a copy of the new regulation.

By completing the training, growers and grower farm operators will be certified to understand ammonia properties, safe operating practices, appropriate actions needed in cases of a leak or emergency, transportation safety and the necessary personal protective equipment and first aid.

Earlier in 2020, IDOA, IFB and other agricultural organizations had planned to offer in-person training, but that effort was put on hold because of coronavirus restrictions.