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Worker Protection Standard Info Center

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The standard was originally issued in 1992 and was most recently revised in 2015. The updated WPS standard is designed to increase protection from pesticide exposure for workers and handlers, reducing the risk of injury or illness from pesticide exposure when used in the production of agricultural plants in an agricultural establishments, including farms, forests, nurseries and enclosed-space production facilities, such as greenhouses. 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 has Changed?
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

Previous

Updated 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 is required for workers and handlers.

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

  • WPS trainers must be certified applicators or have completed an EPA-approved train-the-trainer program or be designated by the State or Tribal pesticide enforcement agency.

  • Training must be presented using EPA-approved training materials.

  • Employers must retain training records for 2 years, and a copy must be available for employees upon request.

  • Expanded training content for workers and handlers. Worker training is expanded to 23 items and handler training is expanded to 36 items. NOTE: Training on the new, expanded content is required within 180 days of EPA issuing updated training materials, but no earlier than January 2018.


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2. Basic Pesticide Information

Previous

Updated 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.

  • Centralized posting information can be displayed in any format; it no longer needs to be in a poster form. The information should include the seven concepts about preventing pesticides from entering the body, instructions for seeking medical attention as soon as possible after being 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 1/4/18.


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3. Hazard Communication

Previous

Updated 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 a central location within 24 hours of the end of application and before workers enter the treated area. Both should be displayed for 30 days after REI expires. Application information and the SDS must be kept for 2 years from end of REI and made available to workers, handlers and designated representatives or treating medical personal upon request.


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4. Notification of Treated Areas

Previous

Updated 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

Previous

Updated Provision

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

  • The employer must provide a respirator, fit testing, training and medical evaluation that conform to OSHA standards for any handler required to wear a respirator by a pesticide label. Employers are required to keep a record of the completion of the fit test, training and medical evaluation.


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6. Decontamination Supplies

Previous

Updated 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 gal. water for each worker and 3 gal. for each handler and each early entry worker based on start of shift.

  • Provide a system capable of delivering 0.4 gpm for 15 minutes or 6 gal. able to flow gently for 15 minutes at a mix/load site for handlers if label requires eye protection. 1 pint of water must be available to each handler applying pesticides if eye protection is required.


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7. Emergency Assistance

Previous

Updated 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.

  • The employer must provide prompt transportation to a medical facility if possible poisoning or injury is suspected. Employer must also promptly provide the SDS, product information (name, EPA registration number and active ingredient) and the circumstances of exposure to treating medical personnel.


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8. Minimum Age Requirements

Previous

Updated Provision

  • No minimum age

  • Handlers and early-entry workers must be at least 18 years old. Members of owner's immediate family (see below for definition) are exempt from age requirements.


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9. Definitions

Previous

Updated Provision

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

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


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Helpful links:


New WPS Products:
NEW GEMPLER'S WPS Reference Guide
NEW GEMPLER'S WPS Reference Guide
NEW Bilingual WPS "Worker" Training Flip Chart
NEW Bilingual WPS "Worker" Training Flip Chart
NEW GEMPLER'S 21"x14" Bilingual WPS Warning Sign w/ Application Data
NEW GEMPLER'S 21"x14" Bilingual WPS Warning Sign w/ Application Data
NEW GEMPLER'S Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Central Posting Kit
NEW GEMPLER'S Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Central Posting Kit

Looking for more? GEMPLER'S carries all the WPS Resources and safety supplies you need to stay in compliance.

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