Set The Standard For Worker Protection

The federal Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS) (40 CFR Part 170) was developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and adopted into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in 1992. The standard was fully implemented in 1995 and has been revised since. The WPS Regulation, as well as a listing of recent amendments, is available online. This federal regulation was designed to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. Approximately 2.5 million agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, working at over 600,000 agricultural establishments, are protected by the WPS.

The WPS requires that agricultural employers take the following steps to reduce the risk of injury or illness when agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply pesticides) are exposed to pesticides: 1) provide information about exposure to pesticides; 2) provide protections against exposures to pesticides; and 3) offer ways to mitigate exposures to pesticides. This article summarizes the provisions of WPS and related regulations. A good reference for further detail regarding compliance with the WPS is the EPA publication, “How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need to Know”, available online at http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/htc.html.

Related Regulations


Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA)

The Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA) (Florida Statute 487.2041), enacted in 2004, gives the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) responsibility for enforcing the WPS in Florida. The FAWSA is intended to ensure that agricultural workers employed in Florida are informed of the risks of pesticide use and receive protection from agricultural pesticides. Specific requirements of the FAWSA include the following:

  • Sellers of agricultural pesticides must provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) in printed or written format (not via CD, website, or email) to the purchaser upon initial purchase of each agricultural product and upon first purchase after an MSDS has been updated.
  • In turn, agricultural employers must then provide farm workers with either an MSDS or fact sheet, containing information about the impacts of the agricultural pesticide and approved by the state or federal government, in written format. The information must be made available to any worker who either: 1) enters an agricultural area where a pesticide has been applied or a restricted-entry interval (REI) has been in effect within the last 30 days; or 2) may be exposed to an agricultural pesticide during normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.
  • The MSDS or fact sheet must be made available to the worker within two working days of request. In the case of a pesticide-related medical emergency, the MSDS or fact sheet must be provided in written format promptly on request by a worker, a designated representative, or medical personnel treating the worker.
  • For the purposes of WPS training, FDACS offers a one-page general agricultural safety sheet they must make available to trainers upon request. The safety sheet must be in a language understood by the worker and must include illustrated instructions on preventing pesticide exposure and the toll free telephone numbers for the Florida Poison Control Centers.
  • The FAWSA prohibits agricultural employers from taking retaliatory action against employees who attempt to exercise their rights under this bill. If an agricultural worker has been subject to retaliatory action, they may file a complaint with FDACS.

Per the FAWSA, the FDACS Bureau of Compliance Monitoring (BCM) performs routine inspections of facilities and operations in which pesticides are used. Inspectors cover the components included in the Pesticide Use inspection report and the WPS inspection form. A pdf of these forms, as well as a FDACS Suggested Pesticide Recordkeeping form are available at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI19500FDACSInspectionForms.pdf. Further information from FDACS on the FAWSA is available at http://www.flaes.org/complimonitoring/workersafety/links.html.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard Provisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard Provisions require that employers inform their employees, by means of a written Hazard Communication Program, of the dangers of hazardous chemicals manufactured, imported, distributed, stored, or used in the workplace. Additionally, agricultural employers with 11 or more employees (full-time or part-time) at any one time during the previous 12 months are subject to enforcement of OSHA’s Hazard Communication (or Right-to-Know) Standard.

The Hazard Communication Program must specify how the requirements for labeling and other forms of warning, MSDS’s, and employee information and training will be met. The program must also include a list of the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace, the methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards associated with use of these chemicals, and the methods the employer will use to inform contractor employers of the hazards their employees may be exposed to in the workplace.

Hazardous chemical training must be provided to employees at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new hazard is introduced into their work area. Further information on the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard can be found in the “2009 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard [Federal]”, which is available on-line at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe409.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
(Photo credit: David Eddy)
Harvesting
August 16, 2016
Proper Stockpiling Can Maintain Almond Quality
As almond yields increase, growers may find themselves with more harvested crop than processors can handle. Proper stockpiling techniques can Read More
A new Washington State University finds that in the real world, neoniotinoids pose no practical threat to honeybees. (Photo credit: Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities)
Crop Protection
August 15, 2016
New Study Shows Neonicotinoids Pose Little Practical Risk To Bees
Washington State University researchers reveal the controversial pesticides aren’t dangerous for bees in the real world. Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia commons
Crop Protection
August 14, 2016
Improving Drought Resilience And Reducing Nutrient Loss Are Focus Of The Soil Health Institute
Soil health experts gain ground on standardized measurements and identify future research needs. Read More
Mosquito illustration from Florida Department of Health video
Citrus
August 10, 2016
Protect Yourself From The Zika Virus [Opinion]
The University of Florida is on the front lines of the battle against mosquito-borne diseases. Read More
Black rot in cabbage
Crop Protection
August 10, 2016
How To Manage Downy Mildew In Cole Crops
Learn symptoms, causal agents, and control measures for this disease. Read More
Algal bloom overtaking mangroves near Stuart, FL
Citrus
August 9, 2016
Florida Farmers Need Not Sink Amid Algal Bloom Stink [Opinion]
In the wake of an algal bloom disaster, growers need to be prepared, proactive, and farm smart. There is much at stake. Read More
Florida Everglades swamp shot at sunset
Citrus
August 9, 2016
Water Quality Win Streak Continues For South Florida Farmers
Despite record rainfall, producers in the Everglades Agricultural Area again exceed phosphorus reduction standards. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
August 15, 2016
New Study Shows Neonicotinoids Pose Litt…
Washington State University researchers reveal the controversial pesticides aren’t dangerous for bees in the real world. Read More
Crop Protection
August 14, 2016
Improving Drought Resilience And Reducin…
Soil health experts gain ground on standardized measurements and identify future research needs. Read More
Crop Protection
August 10, 2016
How To Manage Downy Mildew In Cole Crops
Learn symptoms, causal agents, and control measures for this disease. Read More
Crop Protection
August 5, 2016
How To Control Allium Leafminer, A New I…
First spotted in Pennsylvania in December 2015, the pest has targeted onion, leeks, chives, garlic, and other allium species. Read More
Crop Protection
August 5, 2016
Grants Totaling $36.5 Million Awarded fo…
The funded projects address research and Extension needs that span the spectrum of specialty crop production. Read More
Crop Protection
August 4, 2016
Cover Crops Are Critical To Keeping Soil…
Cover crops are now far more prescriptive; they are not just a good idea with some minor erosion control benefits. Read More
Crop Protection
August 2, 2016
New Technology Reduces Transplant Shock …
Product from AgroFresh Solutions is designed to help with faster crop establishment. Read More
Berries
July 27, 2016
Bird Damage Plagues Most Fruit Growers
There’s no silver bullet, but here are several techniques to annoy and deter birds. Read More
Citrus
July 27, 2016
Stockholders OK Dow, DuPont Merger
Companies intend to separate into three, independent companies. Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Study: GMO Ban Would Hurt Economy And En…
Food prices and greenhouse gas emissions would rise, according to paper by Purdue University agricultural economist. Read More
Crop Protection
July 25, 2016
Organic Insect Control Product Available…
The mycoinsecticide is EPA registered and controls a variety of insect pests. Read More
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Early Infection Of Downy Mildew Confirme…
The pathogen has been confirmed in Michigan cucumbers in Bay County for the 2016 season. Read More
Crop Protection
July 18, 2016
Potato Growers: Be On The Lookout For Ne…
Standard measures have been typically less effective against new strains. Read More
Citrus
July 18, 2016
Bayer Ups Bid To Buy Monsanto
Reports indicate new offer at nearly $65 billion. Read More
Crop Protection
July 13, 2016
Dickeya: A New Potato Disease
The disease caused big losses last year; growers need to check fields for symptoms. Read More
Crop Protection
July 8, 2016
Public Policy Decisions And The Influenc…
EPA needs to get back to using solid science and avoid bending to popular opinion. Read More
Crop Protection
July 6, 2016
Abiotic Issues Affect Vegetable Producti…
Although most issues you face are biotic, abiotic issues can greatly impact vegetable crop yield and quality. Read More
Crop Protection
July 6, 2016
Crop Production High Tunnel iBook Now Av…
The book is designed to help growers who are beginning high tunnel production. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]