Southeastern Ornamental Horticulture Production and Integrated Pest Management

News alerts and tips from Southeastern universities.

Changes to the Worker Protection Standard

by Joseph LaForest

I  thought that many of you may be interested in recent changes to the Worker protection Standard.  EPA put out a good comparison chart which is in the PDF.

http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/comparison-chart-wps.pdf

  Here are what they list as the major revisions include

  • Annual mandatory training to inform farmworkers on the required protections afforded to them. Currently, training is only once every 5 years.
  • Expanded training includes instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
  • First-time ever minimum age requirement: Children under 18 are prohibited from handling pesticides.
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides. The signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • New no-entry application-exclusion zones up to 100 feet surrounding pesticide application equipment will protect workers and others from exposure to pesticide overspray.
  • Requirement to provide more than one way for farmworkers and their representatives to gain access to pesticide application information and safety data sheets – centrally-posted, or by requesting records.
  • Mandatory record-keeping to improve states’ ability to follow up on pesticide violations and enforce compliance. Records of application-specific pesticide information, as well as farmworker training, must be kept for two years.
  • Anti-retaliation provisions are comparable to Department of Labor’s (DOL).
  • Changes in personal protective equipment will be consistent with DOL’s standards for ensuring respirators are effective, including fit test, medical evaluation and training.
  • Specific amounts of water to be used for routine washing, emergency eye flushing and other decontamination, including eye wash systems for handlers at pesticide mixing/loading sites.
  • Continue the exemption for farm owners and their immediate families with an expanded definition of immediate family.