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
These wildflowers, planted near a California almond orchard, can be extremely effective in aiding pollinators. (Photo credit: Katharina Ullmann, Xerces Society)
Crop Protection
September 19, 2016
Grant Awarded To Rutgers To Study Pollinators
Scientist in the school of Environmental and Biological Sciences receives $2.9 million grant to research bees and other pollinators. Read More
sweet corn field shot Gordon
Crop Protection
September 16, 2016
Misconceptions, Questions, And Answers On GMOs
Industry experts respond to questions on GMO sweet corn, squash, and potatoes. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thus Far
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Split view of Monsanto and Bayer company signage
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of Negotiations
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Illustration of CRISPR-Cas9
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation To The Next Level?
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
Crop Protection
September 9, 2016
Florida Winning In Slugfest Over Giant Snails
Since first being discovered five years ago, more than 164,000 of the invasive pests have been captured and destroyed. Read More
Photo credit:  Scott Bauer
Disease Control
September 9, 2016
Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council Awards Grant To Focus On Lettuce Diseases
A recent survey indicates disease control and management were identified as the highest priority. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Crop Protection
September 19, 2016
Grant Awarded To Rutgers To Study Pollin…
Scientist in the school of Environmental and Biological Sciences receives $2.9 million grant to research bees and other pollinators. Read More
Crop Protection
September 16, 2016
Misconceptions, Questions, And Answers O…
Industry experts respond to questions on GMO sweet corn, squash, and potatoes. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thu…
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of …
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation …
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Crop Protection
September 9, 2016
Florida Winning In Slugfest Over Giant S…
Since first being discovered five years ago, more than 164,000 of the invasive pests have been captured and destroyed. Read More
Citrus
September 8, 2016
Bayer Ups Monsanto Offer
German company increases offer by 2% for world’s largest seeds company. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Getting To The Root Of Improved Fruit An…
Taking a holistic approach to soil health is a key to increasing plant vigor and yields. High yields begin with Read More
Crop Protection
September 6, 2016
Purdue Entomologist Receives USDA Grant …
The goal of the research team is to help growers of cucurbits achieve effective pest control while protecting honeybees and other beneficial pollinating insects. Read More
Crop Protection
September 3, 2016
Dickeya dianthicola: A New Threat To Po…
The disease, identified in Maine in 2014, has caused significant losses in potatoes on the Eastern Seaboard. Read More
Crop Protection
September 1, 2016
Strategies To Control Wildlife On Your F…
Techniques to keep animals off your farm and away from your crops include scare tactics and habitat management. Read More
Crop Protection
August 30, 2016
New Biopesticide Available From BioWorks
Mycoinsecticide has quick knockdown effect and multiple modes of action. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2016
Monsanto And Bayer Merger Talks Advancin…
Sources say companies have addressed initial issues from initial conversation. Read More
Crop Protection
August 25, 2016
Better Biocontrol Options Becoming Avail…
New bio-based solutions to effectively control weeds and pests are cropping up. Read More
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 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
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]