‘Human error’ behind 32 students falling ill at SK Linggi

A few of the pupils admitted to Hospital Port Dickson. (Bernama pic)

PORT DICKSON: Deputy Agriculture Minister Sim Tze Tzin said the recent pesticide farm poisoning at SK Linggi in Negeri Sembilan was due to human error after a probe found that the workers used the wrong pesticides and were not trained to mix the right amount of water to pesticides.

He said the chilli farm is new and the workers have no work experience.

“Poor agricultural practices caused an overdose (of pesticides).

“This is a human error,” he told reporters on the sidelines of PKR’s three-day retreat here.

Sim said the workers should be trained to mix the right amount of water and pesticide.

“Furthermore, they should spray it early in the morning or late in the evening. Not during school hours,” he said.

He was responding to the incident where 32 students suffered dizziness, vomiting, coughing, blurred vision and shortness of breath after inhaling what is believed to be poisonous chemical substances from insecticides sprayed on a chilli farm located near the school.

Sim said the ministry wanted all farm workers to be properly trained to ensure safe farming practices.

He said the incidence of pesticide overdose was not widespread and there was no cause for worry. Farm owners are encouraged to ensure they have adequate knowledge of safe farming.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said 283 students were exposed to the pesticide poisoning and 32 showed symptoms of vomiting and nausea while eight were admitted to hospital for a day or two.

Lee said all students have been discharged from the hospital.