New Farmworker Protection Rules Now Employed

The EPA has made changes to the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) regulations. The agency says the updates were made to protect the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families from pesticide expose.

The rules are aimed at workers who perform hand-labor tasks in pesticide treated crops and workers who mix, load, or apply pesticides. The new rules place an emphasis on recordkeeping, requiring farms to keep files on a number of items for two years where no records were required before.

Get Up To Speed Now

“There are lots of changes and growers would be well advised to get up to speed on the revisions to WPS, as many of the new requirements went in to effect on Jan. 2, 2017,” says Gene McAvoy, a UF/IFAS Vegetable Extension Agent. “Extension Agents have been busy offering WPS “Train the Trainer” classes around the state, which go over the changes and what growers need to do to comply. In addition all those who hold a ‘Train the Trainer’ certificate must recertify under the new rule.”

There also is more of information online at the EPA WPS website and many Extension offices have a supply of the revised EPA WPS “How to Comply” manual. Growers also can get a copy of the WPS inspection sheet used by inspectors and do a self-assessment.
“Unlike the past, I understand that inspectors will be going directly into enforcement mode,” McAvoy says.

He advises growers pay close attention to new requirements for respirator fit testing and training, medical certification, and documentation of these things when required by an EPA label.

“Revised rules also require that applicators must wear respirators even in tractors with enclosed cabs, if the label requires a respirator,” McAvoy says. “Handlers may be surprised to learn that they can be cited and fined along with their employer for failure to wear label-mandated personal protective equipment.”

Change Highlights

Some of the major changes to the WPS rule are:

  • Annual mandatory training to inform farmworkers on the required protections. This increases the likelihood that protections will be followed. Previously, training is only once every five years.
  • First-time ever minimum age requirement: Children under 18 are prohibited from handling pesticides.
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides. The signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • New no-entry application exclusion zones up to 100 feet surrounding pesticide application equipment will protect workers and others from exposure to pesticide overspray.
  • Mandatory recordkeeping to improve states’ ability to follow up on pesticide violations and enforce compliance. Records of application-specific pesticide information, as well as farmworker training, must be kept for two years.
  • Anti-retaliation provisions are now comparable to the Department of Labor.
  • Changes in personal protective equipment will be consistent with the DOL’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are effective, including fit test, medical evaluation, and training.
  • Requires additional specialized certifications for people using high-risk application methods (fumigation and aerial).
  • Requires first-time annual safety training and increased oversight for persons working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Training includes reducing take-home pesticide exposure to protect worker families.

Click here for a chart that compares the old WPS rule with the new rule.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Sugar Belle oranges
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 18, 2017
Unique Citrus Variety Standing Up to Deadly Disease
University of Florida researchers are peeling back the layers to find out what’s helping specific mandarin hybrid hold serve against HLB. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Mating Disruption Product Approved
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the U.S. Rule
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Orie Lee, 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Innovator Passes Away at 90
Orie Lee spent half his life cultivating the industry he cared deeply for. Read More
Burn ban sign posted along S.R. A1A in Flagler County, FL, due to drought conditions
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central Florida
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 11, 2017
Late Season Rally in Forecast for Florida Orange Crop
Latest estimate from USDA reveals first increase in several months; grapefruit continues to sour. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control for Rodents and Gophers
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Citrus
May 5, 2017
USDA Angers California Lemon Growers
Industry leaders extremely disappointed by Argentine lemon rule. Read More
inspecting citrus greening leaves
Insect & Disease Update
May 3, 2017
Big Bucks Booster for Citrus Research in Spending Bill
Funding would be used to fight HLB and explore methods for a cure. Read More
Port Of Miami shipyard
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe into Unfair Trade Tactics
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
a group of ripe strawberries
Citrus
April 28, 2017
EPA Approves New Plant Growth Stimulant
RIO from Arysta LifeScience North America is labeled for use on citrus, vegetables, tree fruit, strawberries, grapes, and nuts. Read More
citrus psyllid closeup
Citrus
April 27, 2017
The California Citrus Grower Defines Leadership
While HLB wreaked havoc elsewhere, the California citrus industry came together and formed an action plan. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Judi Whitson, 2016 Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the Year in Agriculture?
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Matin…
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the…
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Innovator Passes Away at …
Orie Lee spent half his life cultivating the industry he cared deeply for. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 11, 2017
Late Season Rally in Forecast for Florid…
Latest estimate from USDA reveals first increase in several months; grapefruit continues to sour. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control fo…
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Citrus
May 5, 2017
USDA Angers California Lemon Growers
Industry leaders extremely disappointed by Argentine lemon rule. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2017
EPA Approves New Plant Growth Stimulant
RIO from Arysta LifeScience North America is labeled for use on citrus, vegetables, tree fruit, strawberries, grapes, and nuts. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
The California Citrus Grower Defines Lea…
While HLB wreaked havoc elsewhere, the California citrus industry came together and formed an action plan. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the …
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
Citrus
April 23, 2017
Bio Huma Netics, Inc., and Mesa Verde Re…
Strategic alliance between the two companies is designed to offer customers greater access to products. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect …
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More