Jan 8, 2018More revisions set for Ag Worker Protection Standard
EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The WPS offers occupational protections to over 2 million agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply crop pesticides) who work at over 600,000 agricultural establishments (farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses).
On Nov. 2, 2015, EPA revised the WPS to implement stronger protections for agricultural workers, handlers and their families. Each year, between 1,800 and 3,000 preventable occupational incidents involving pesticide exposure occur on establishments covered by the WPS. The WPS revisions are intended to decrease the pesticide exposure incidents among farmworkers and their family members. Fewer incidents means a healthier workforce and avoiding lost wages, medical bills and absences from work and school.
EPA has initiated a process to revise certain requirements in the WPS. By the end of FY 2018, EPA expects to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public input on proposed revisions to the WPS requirements for minimum ages, designated representatives, and application exclusion zones. The compliance dates in the revised WPS published on Nov. 2, 2015, remain in effect; the Agency does not intend to extend them. Read a prepublication version of the Federal Register notice.
Most of the revised WPS requirements became effective on Jan. 2, 2017. Three requirements went into effect on Jan. 2, 2018:
- pesticide safety training must cover the expanded content;
- pesticide safety information (posters) must meet the revised standards; and
- handlers must suspend applications if workers or other people are in the application exclusion zone.