Learn The Laws To Ensure Worker Safety

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a set of federal regulations designed to protect agricultural employees, especially farm workers, from possible harm from pesticides used in the commercial production of agricultural plants. “Agricultural plants” are plants on or in farms, nurseries, greenhouses, and commercial forests. The law has been in effect since Jan. 1, 1995, with a revision in Sept. 2005. In July 2004, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) adopted EPA’s WPS regulations as the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA) by rule.

The three groups of people affected by both the WPS and FAWSA are:
• Agricultural employers are growers and others who employ agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.
• Agricultural workers are individuals who perform hand labor tasks such as harvesting, thinning, pruning, and related tasks on agricultural establishments where they do not come into direct contact with pesticides.
• Pesticide handlers are individuals who come into direct contact with pesticides during mixing, loading, and/or applying pesticides, or by repairing or cleaning equipment that contains pesticides.

The three main goals of the WPS and FAWSA are:
1) Protect agricultural workers and pesticide handlers
2) Provide pesticide safety information
3) Mitigation

Protecting Workers And Handlers

The main way that employers can protect their employees from pesticides is to help them avoid exposure. This means that pesticide handlers must know that any pesticide they apply cannot come in contact with nearby agricultural workers. At the same time, agricultural workers must know that they need to stay out of areas being treated with pesticides (notification). The minimum distance is one-quarter mile for most applications, though distances are smaller for nurseries.

Employers must tell their workers when and where pesticide applications will take place and how long they must stay out of the treated area. If the pesticide label permits, the notification can be done orally, though some pesticides require that the treated area be posted with EPA-approved signs.

Providing Information

Employers must provide safety information about the pesticides that are being used. This should be done by displaying information at a central location. Required information includes both an EPA-approved central location poster and specific information about pesticides that have been used on or in the farm, nursery, greenhouse, or forest. In Florida, the records need to include both the time the application begins and the time it ends. Maintain the pesticide information posted at the central location for at least 30 days after the expiration of the restricted entry interval (REI) listed on the product’s label.

The other component of providing information is pesticide safety training for both agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Trainers must meet specific qualifications such as being a licensed pesticide applicator or attending a FDACS-approved train-the-trainer course. Training must be done in a language that the employees understand, using a translator if necessary. The trainer must use EPA-approved training materials. Trainers should keep good records of training sessions using a sign-in sheet. Training is valid for five years. After that, workers and handlers must be retrained.

FDACS assists Florida producers by providing many WPS materials, including the central location poster and training materials. The order form can be found at www.flaes.org/complimonitoring/workersafety/index.html. According to FDACS, the two most common WPS violations in Florida are related to the central location (38% in 2007) and pesticide safety training (36%).

Mitigation

Employers must provide decontamination supplies for both agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. For workers, the supplies must be kept within a quarter-mile of where they are working. Supplies include water, single-use towels, and soap. These must be available for 30 days after the expiration of the longest REI that has been used. Handler supplies must include water for emergency whole body washing, clean coveralls (pro-
tection from exposure to pesticides), soap, single-use towels, and 1 pint of water for emergency eye flushing when protective eyewear is listed on the pesticide label.

If an employee is exposed to a pesticide or involved in an accident with pesticides, the employer must provide transportation to the nearest medical facility. The employer must also provide information about the pesticide and the circumstances involved in the exposure. This includes the product name, EPA registration number, active ingredient(s), and first aid and medical information from the label, and the MSDS.

The handler’s employer is responsible for providing specific information about the pesticide application, including the type of posting that is required and all other safety requirements on the labeling. When scouts or other contact employers plan to visit the facility, the producer must provide specific information about areas that have been treated and where REIs are in effect.

One of the key provisions of the WPS is that employers cannot fire either agricultural workers or pesticide handlers who are trying to comply with the Worker Protection Standard and the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act. This is known as “protection against retaliation.”

For More

The best source for information about the Worker Protection Standard is the How to Comply manual, published by the EPA and found at
www.epa.gov/agriculture/htc.html.

If you would like to learn more about the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act, visit www.flaes.org/complimonitoring/workersafety/index.html.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “Learn The Laws To Ensure Worker Safety

  1. Mary,
    Hello, when the article was emailed to me you could receive a variety of CEUs but when you go to answer the question set it says one Core CEU. Would you please clarify. 941-722-4524 Manatee County Extension Office. Thanks, Jennifer

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    The questions are good to earn 1 CEU in Private, Aerial, Ag Row Crop, Ag Tree Crop, Forestry, Ornamental & Turf or Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation.

    Frank

  3. Mary,
    Hello, when the article was emailed to me you could receive a variety of CEUs but when you go to answer the question set it says one Core CEU. Would you please clarify. 941-722-4524 Manatee County Extension Office. Thanks, Jennifer

  4. Hi Jennifer,

    The questions are good to earn 1 CEU in Private, Aerial, Ag Row Crop, Ag Tree Crop, Forestry, Ornamental & Turf or Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation.

    Frank

Featured Stories
Late blight shown in a tomato
Disease Control
January 19, 2017
Clues Found to Block Late Blight’s Blitz on Potatoes, Tomatoes
With food security at stake, breakthrough in genetic research could help prevent more strains of the deadly pathogen from entering the U.S. Read More
Grapes
January 19, 2017
U.S. Challenges Canadian Trade Measures Allege Discrimination against U.S. Wine
Trade enforcement action challenges British Columbia regulations that unfairly exclude U.S. wine from grocery store shelves. Read More
Sonny Perdue
Citrus
January 19, 2017
Trump Taps Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture Position
Ag leaders applaud pick to head up USDA. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New York Representatives Introduce Bill to Move H-2A from Department of Labor to Department of Agriculture
Legislators say the move aligns the program in the department to better fit the needs of agriculture businesses. Read More
Freeze protected peach trees in Florida
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New Technology Could Take Weather Intel to the Extreme for Farmers
Scientists aiming to make difficult climate-based production decisions easier for growers. Read More
Fruits
January 19, 2017
Funding Available to Improve Ag, Food Sciences Facilities at Land Grant Schools
USDA announces $18.9 million for ag education at 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. Read More
the sunset on a hot day
Citrus
January 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Concur 2016 Was World’s Warmest Year on Record
For the third time in three years, the bar is raised on surface temperature statistics. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
Southwest Growers Are Best Prepared for Succession
Almost half of all Southwest operations are grooming its next generation of leadership — an alarmingly low statistic, but one that is the highest in the country, according to American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
The Midwest Is Nurturing the Next Generation of Operations
It has more young businesses, percentage wise, than other regions: 39% of responding businesses are less than 10 years old. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
The West Had the Highest Increase in U.S. Vegetable Production in 2016
The West not only has the largest vegetable operations, it also saw the strongest growth in production in the U.S., according to American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey. Read More
The Latest
Disease Control
January 19, 2017
Clues Found to Block Late Blight’s…
With food security at stake, breakthrough in genetic research could help prevent more strains of the deadly pathogen from entering the U.S. Read More
Grapes
January 19, 2017
U.S. Challenges Canadian Trade Measures …
Trade enforcement action challenges British Columbia regulations that unfairly exclude U.S. wine from grocery store shelves. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
Trump Taps Sonny Perdue for Secretary of…
Ag leaders applaud pick to head up USDA. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New York Representatives Introduce Bill …
Legislators say the move aligns the program in the department to better fit the needs of agriculture businesses. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New Technology Could Take Weather Intel …
Scientists aiming to make difficult climate-based production decisions easier for growers. Read More
Fruits
January 19, 2017
Funding Available to Improve Ag, Food Sc…
USDA announces $18.9 million for ag education at 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. Read More
Citrus
January 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Concur 2016 Was World’s Warme…
For the third time in three years, the bar is raised on surface temperature statistics. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
Southwest Growers Are Best Prepared for …
Almost half of all Southwest operations are grooming its next generation of leadership — an alarmingly low statistic, but one that is the highest in the country, according to American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
The Midwest Is Nurturing the Next Genera…
It has more young businesses, percentage wise, than other regions: 39% of responding businesses are less than 10 years old. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
The West Had the Highest Increase in U.S…
The West not only has the largest vegetable operations, it also saw the strongest growth in production in the U.S., according to American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
One in Five Southeast Growers Use H-2A
American Vegetable Grower magazine's 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry survey revealed quite a few qualities about the Southeast that may surprise you, including it being more likely to use H-2A than other regions. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
The 2016 Drought Is Having a Big Impact …
The 2017 State of the Vegetable Industry gave us insight into each region of the U.S. Sifting through the data, we flagged those responses that were markedly higher or lower than other regions. Responses from Northeast growers made it clear that the 2016 drought had taken a toll. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 18, 2017
$858,000 in Grants to Encourage Careers …
Funding to invest in programs that educate, promote science in the classroom. Read More
Vegetables
January 18, 2017
Mississippi Greenhouse Tomato Short Cour…
Online registration is now open for the Greenhouse Tomato Short Course, which takes place March 7-8 in Raymond, MS. This Read More
Fruits
January 18, 2017
Spotted Wing Drosophila Control the Topi…
Research updates, recommendations to be presented on devastating pest. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
January 18, 2017
5 Florida Citrus Nursery Trends Worth Wa…
Gleanings from recent grower gatherings expose opportunities and possibilities in new variety development and management. Read More
GenNext Growers
January 17, 2017
9 Financial Resolutions to Boost Your Fa…
If a goal for the new year includes increasing profitability, there are ways you can better manage your business. Read More
Farm Management
January 17, 2017
Will Big Data Yield Big Returns for Farm…
Modern tools of hort tech are ripe to inspire the next generation of productivity and profitability. Read More