EPA Updates Worker Protection Standards for Farmworkers
EPA announced today stronger protections for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families working on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.
EPA revised the existing Worker Protection Standard (WPS), 40 CFR part 170, to reduce occupational pesticide exposure and incidents of related illness among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.The final rule has not yet been published. The new requirements will go into effect the first week of December 2016. (The exact date has not been determined.)
Highlights of the revisioninclude:
Employers must ensure that workers and handlers receive pesticide safety training every year.
Employers must post warning signs around treated areas when the product used has a restricted-entry interval (REI) greater than 48 hours. Workers who must enter a treated area when an REI is in effect must be given information about the pesticide used, the specific task(s) to be performed, the personal protective equipment (PPE) required by the label and the amount of time the worker may remain in the treated area.
Employers must maintain and make available to workers and handlers, their designated representatives, and treating medical personnel upon request, the pesticide application-specific information and the SDSs for pesticides used on the establishment for two years.
Handlers must suspend application if they are aware of any person in the application exclusion zone other than a properly trained and equipped handler involved in the application.