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Worker Protection Standards Changes

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By: Rose Kachadoorian, ODA; Grant Jackson, ODA; Cory Cooley, ODA; Derrick Terrada, US EPA, Region 10; Richard Pont, US EPA; Nancy Fitz, US EPA


Frequency of full training for workers and handlers

Annual training.

Training grace period for worker training

No grace period. Workers must be trained before they work in an area where a pesticide has been used or a restricted-entry interval has been in effect in the past 30 days.

Qualifications for trainers of workers

Trainers of workers must be Certified applicators, or State/Tribal/Federal approved trainers, or persons who have completed an EPA-approved train-the-trainer course.

Record keeping of training

Keep records for 2 years. Give copy of record of training to workers and handlers upon their request.

Hazard Communication

Content and availability of hazard communications materials

Employer must display application information and safety data sheets (SDSs) at central location within 24 hours of end of application and before workers enter that treated area. Display both for 30 days after REI expires. Keep application information and SDS for 2 years from end of REI and make available to workers, handlers, designated representatives (identified in writing) or treating medical personnel upon request.

Notification of Treated Areas

Notification of treated areas under an REI

Post warning sign if REI is greater than 48 hours (outdoor applications) or 4 hours (enclosed space  applications (e.g., greenhouses)), otherwise option for posting or oral notification unless label requires  both.

Information exchange between handler employer and agricultural employer

Agricultural employer must provide application information on treated areas the handler may be in (or  walk within ¼ mile of). Handler employer must notify before the application begins for certain changes and within 2 hours of end of application for most other changes, unless only change was less than 1 hour difference in application time.

Minimum Age

Handlers and early-entry workers must be at least 18 years old. (Members of owner’s immediate family are exempt from this and most other requirements of the WPS.)

Entry Restrictions during Application for Outdoor Production

Ag employers must prohibit entry into areas on their own property during application for outdoor production.

All outdoor production: No entry into treated area or the application exclusion zone, which is an area up to 100 feet area around the application equipment during pesticide application on farms, forests, and nurseries. Size of the application exclusion zone depends on type of application. Revised descriptions of application methods.

Exemptions and Exceptions

Exemption for certified crop advisors and their employees

Only certified crop advisors are exempt from labeling PPE and WPS requirements as specified in exemption. Certified crop advisor employees must use label-required PPE while working in a field during an REI, and employer must provide all required WPS protections, or rely on the PPE substitutions allowed under the crop advisors.

Exceptions to REIs for early entry workers – notification requirements

Notify early-entry workers of application specifics, tasks to be performed, conditions of the early-entry exception, and hazard information from the pesticide label.

Basic Pesticide Safety Information

Display of pesticide safety information

Display pesticide safety information at a central location and at sites where decontamination supplies are located, if the decontamination supplies are at a permanent site or at a location with 11 or more workers or handlers.

Personal Protective Equipment


Employer must provide respirator and fit testing, training, and medical evaluation that conforms to

OSHA standards for any handler required to wear any respirator by the labeling. Require recordkeeping of completion of fit test, training, and medical evaluation.

PPE exception for closed systems

Exceptions to the labeling-specified PPE allowed for handlers when using closed systems. A closed system must meet a broad performance-based standard and basic operating standards (written operating instructions and training of handlers in use of the system) must be provided.

PPE exception for crop advisors and their employees

Crop advisors and their employees entering treated areas while a REI is in effect to conduct crop-advisor tasks may wear a standard set of PPE (coveralls, shoes plus socks and chemical-resistant gloves made of any waterproof material, and eye protection if the labeling of the pesticide product applied requires protective eyewear for handlers, as outlined in rule), OR the PPE specified on the pesticide labeling for early-entry activities instead of the PPE specified on the pesticide labeling for handling activities, provided certain conditions are met.

PPE exception from eyewear for pilots in open cockpits

If product label requires eye protection, pilots in open cockpits may wear a helmet with lowered face shield instead of label-required eye protection.

PPE exception for enclosed cabs

Maintain exception for dermal PPE as in existing rule with same conditions, but handlers in enclosed cabs must wear the labeling-specified respiratory protection except when the only labeling-specified respiratory protection is a particulate filtering facepiece respirator (NIOSH approval number prefix TC-84A), previously called a dust/mist filtering respirator.

Decontamination Supplies

Quantity of water

Provide 1 gallon for each worker and 3 gallons for each handler and each early entry worker as measured at beginning of workers’ or handlers’ work period.

Use of natural waters

Must provide water for decontamination. There is no reference to, or prohibition from, using natural waters in addition to decontamination water provided. Workers and handlers are trained to use any nearest clean water source in case of emergency.

Eye wash for handlers

Provide a system capable of delivering 0.4 gallons/minute for 15 minutes, or 6 gallons of water able to flow gently for about 15 minutes at a mix/load site if handlers use products requiring eye protection or use a pressurized closed system. One pint of water in a portable container must be available to each handler applying pesticides if eye protection is required.

Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance

Provide prompt transportation to medical facility. Promptly provide the SDS, product information (name, EPA Reg No and active ingredient) and circumstances of exposure to treating medical personnel.


Immediate family

Expand to also include all in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins.

Enclosed space production

Enclosed space production that is indoors or in a structure or space that is covered in whole or in part by any nonporous covering and that is large enough to permit a person to enter.


Employ means to obtain, directly or through a labor contractor, the services of a person in exchange for a salary or wages, including piece-rate wages, without regard to who may pay or who may receive the salary or wages. It includes obtaining the services of a self-employed person, an independent contractor, or a person compensated by a third party.

Compliance Requirement January 2018 (Or later)


Expand training content for workers and handlers

Keep existing and expand content. Final worker training topics expanded to 23 items, and handler training expanded to 36 items. Training on new content not required until 2 years from effective date of final rule.

Handler Suspend Application

Handler (applicator) must suspend application in certain circumstances

Handler must apply pesticides so as not to contact workers or other persons. Handler must suspend application if a worker or other person is in the application exclusion zone, an area up to 100 feet around the application equipment.

Basic Pesticide Safety Information

Content of pesticide safety information

Information can be displayed in any format (doesn’t have to be a poster); keep the 7 concepts about preventing pesticides from entering your body; delete the point that there are federal rules to protect workers and handlers; add instructions for employees to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they have been poisoned, injured or made ill by pesticides; add name, address and telephone number of state or tribal pesticide regulatory authority; revise “emergency medical facility” to “a nearby operating medical care facility.”

Washington State University