Review of Environmental, Social, and Labor Issues Environmental Review:
Environmental Classification and Issues:
This is a category III project according to the IIC’s environmental and labor review procedure because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, and design criteria. The environmental and labor considerations related to the project include handling of agrochemicals, solid waste disposal, worker safety, and emergency response.
Handling of Agrochemicals
All of the products sold by the company are authorized by SAG, the agriculture and livestock service of Chile's Agriculture Ministry (Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero del Ministerio de Agricultura). Agrochemicals are handled by specially trained staff. Hazardous waste is stored separately from non-hazardous (i.e., seed and fertilizer) waste and is classified according to use. Flammable and nonflammable products are also separated. Storage facilities are equipped with retainer walls for spills and drain into blind wells, ensuring the safe disposal of any spilled substance. They also have washable, impermeable floors and walls; metal shelving; and adequate ventilation (roof turbine vents, perimeter vents). In the event of accidental spills, the company engages an authorized agent to clean and treat the substances involved. In addition to SAG authorization, every site that sells or stores products is required to have a municipal permit.
Copeval follows the guidelines of AFIPA, the Chilean association of agrochemical manufacturers and importers. AFIPA has developed a program to provide free collection, crushing, and disposal of agrochemical containers for producers. Copeval participates in this program, collecting containers from producers for final disposal. Authorities dispose of the crushed containers in designated municipal dumps. Containers must be washed three times before they may be crushed.
Liquid Effluent Management
Water use is limited to cleaning and personal hygiene, and the water is treated as domestic waste. Wastewater is discharged into septic tanks in accordance with governmental health requirements, or, when they exist, into sewer systems.
Occupational Safety and Health
In accordance with current regulations, all employees who come into contact with pesticides follow safety measures and are given task-specific personal protective equipment (work clothes, waterproof attire, safety shoes, respiratory protection, eye protection, gloves, etc.)
All workers undergo an occupational medical exam as part of a public health program. The social security system provides workers and their families with partial coverage. Copeval employees also have complementary coverage to ensure comprehensive care. Occupational injury insurance covers medical services and provides financial aid in the event of an accident. A joint committee of company managers and employees, with equal representation, carries out risk prevention activities. Workers receive risk prevention training through courses organized by the joint committees or the occupational injury insurance company. Copeval has internal order, health, and safety regulations as well as an emergency plan and evacuation procedures.
The facilities are equipped with a fire system that includes portable extinguishers and sprinklers and complies with national regulations. An authorized external company is responsible for pest (rodent) control.
Copeval complies with national labor laws. These include social security benefits, freedom of association, organization of workers' unions, and nondiscrimination in the workplace. Copeval employees are members of a union that is more than twenty years old. The workers have a collective labor contract.
Control and Follow-Up
Copeval has an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) in place to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC's environmental and workplace safety and health guidelines. The EMP provides for a yearly report on solid waste management; health, occupational safety, and emergency response training; and accident reporting.