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Worker Protection Standard Info Center

The EPA recently updated the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The standard was first established in 1974 and created to protect those that work with pesticides and run the risk of pesticide poisoning. The last revision was completed in 1992. The new WPS standard was signed into law and went into effect on January 4, 2016. The latest WPS standard is designed to increase protection from pesticide exposure for the more than two million agricultural workers and their families. Here are some of the notable changes to the WPS standard; for a complete list please see here.

GEMPLER'S® Basic Pesticide Mixer/Applicator Safety Kit

What is Changing?
1. Pesticide Safety Training
2. Basic Pesticide Information
3. Hazard Communication
4. Notification of Treated Areas
5. Personal Protective Equipment
6. Decontamination Supplies
7. Emergency Assistance
8. Minimum Age Requirements
9. Definitions


 

1. Pesticide Safety Training

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Workers and handlers must be trained every 5 years

  • 5-day grace period with abbreviated training

  • Qualified trainers must complete a train-the-trainer course

  • Training content includes 11 basic training items for worker and 13 items for handlers. Minimal training on reducing take-home exposure, reducing violations and prohibition from employer retaliation.

  • No recordkeeping for training

  • Annual training mandatory for workers and handlers

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

  • Qualified trainers must complete EPA approved train-the-trainer course

  • The 11 basic training items were kept as is; however, worker training was expanded to 23 items, and handler training topics were expanded to 36 items. Training on new content is not required until 2 years from effective date of final rule (1/4/18).

  • Training records must be kept for 2 years. A copy of record of training must be given to workers and handlers upon their request.



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2. Basic Pesticide Information

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • WPS safety poster must be displayed at a central location.

  • The safety poster must include the following information: 7 concepts about preventing pesticides from entering the body, the fact that there are federal rules to protect workers and handlers, the name, address and phone number of the nearest emergency facility.

  • Pesticide safety information must be displayed at a central location and at sites where decontamination supplies are located, if decontamination supplies are at a permanent site or at a location with 11 or more workers or handlers.

  • Information can be displayed in any format; it no longer needs to be a poster. The information displayed should include the 7 concepts about preventing pesticides from entering the body, instructions for employees to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they have been poisoned, injured or made ill by pesticides; name, address and telephone number of state or tribal pesticide regulatory authority; “emergency medical facility” should be revised to “a nearby operating medical care facility.” The point that there are federal rules to protect workers and handlers can be removed. Note: The new content is not required until 2 years from effective date of final rule (1/4/18).



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3. Hazard Communication

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Employer must display application-specific information at a central posting location before application occurs, or if no workers or handlers are in the establishment, before the next period workers and handlers are there. Records must be posted for 30 days after restricted entry interval (REI) exposure. No recordkeeping is required.

  • Employer must display application information and safety data sheets (SDSs) at central location within 24 hours of end of application and before workers enter the treated area. Both should be displayed for 30 days after REI expires. Application information and SDS must be kept for 2 years from end of REI and made available to workers, handlers and designated representatives or treating medical personnel upon request.



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4. Notification of Treated Areas

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Farms, forests and nurseries must post warning sign or give oral notification of REI, unless the product label requires both. All greenhouse applications require signs to be posted.

  • Post warning sign if REI is greater than 48 hours (outdoor applications) or 4 hours (in enclosed space applications such as greenhouses), otherwise there is an option for posting or oral notification unless label requires both.



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5. Personal Protective Equipment

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Employers must provide respirator listed on label and ensure it fits. No recordkeeping required.

  • Employer must provide a respirator, fit testing, training and medical evaluation that conforms to OSHA standards, for any handler required to wear a respirator by a pesticide label. Recordkeeping of completion of fit test, training and medical evaluation is required.



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6. Decontamination Supplies

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Provide enough water for routine washing and emergency eye flushing for workers and handlers. For handlers, also provide enough to wash entire body in case of emergency.

  • Provide handlers enough water for emergency eye flushing. One pint of water in a portable container must be available for each handler if eye protection is required by pesticide label.

  • Provide 1 gallon of water for each worker and 3 gallons for each handler and each early entry worker based on start of shift.

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



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7. Emergency Assistance

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Provide prompt transportation to a medical facility and any obtainable information about the product, antidote, first aid and circumstances of exposure to the worker/handler or treating medical personnel.

  • Provide prompt transportation to a medical facility. Promptly provide the SDS, product information (name, EPA reg #, and active ingredient) and circumstances of exposure to treating medical personnel.



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8. Minimum Age Requirements

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • No minimum age

  • Handlers and early-entry workers must be at least 18 years old. Members of owner’s immediate family are exempt from age requirements.



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9. Definitions

Current

New 2015 Provision

  • Immediate family currently includes spouse, parents, stepparents, foster parents, children, stepchildren, foster children, brothers and sisters.

  • Immediate family is expanded to also include all in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and first cousins.



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Timeline

Action

Implementation Date

Updated WPS standard comes into effect.

January 4, 2016

The date that employers must comply with the provisions of WPS with the exception of the new training content and the implementation of the new exclusion zone requirement.

January 4, 2017

New training curriculum must be implemented

January 4, 2018 (or 180 days after the EPA announces training materials are available, whichever is later)

New exclusion zone requirement comes into effect. For additional information on this requirement see here.

January 4, 2018

Questions? Contact GEMPLER'S Product Support at 1-800-874-4755.

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