EPA to Reconsider Certain Requirements of Worker Protection Standard
In an effort to revise certain requirements of its agricultural worker protection standard, EPA intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit public input on proposed revisions related to minimum ages, designated representatives, and application exclusion zones by the end of fiscal year 2018. These three requirements were mentioned when EPA solicited public comments on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification in accordance with presidential Executive Order 13777, which is intended to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on Americans. The agency determined that further consideration of these requirements is warranted through the rulemaking process.  The agricultural worker protection standard was most recently revised in 2015. These revisions established a minimum age of 18 years for pesticide handlers and for workers who must enter pesticide-treated areas early in a few work situations such as emergencies. The revised standard also required agricultural employers to provide pesticide application information and safety data sheets to a designated representative of a worker or handler under certain circumstances. The requirements related to application exclusion zones were intended to reduce the number of incidents where workers or others are exposed to pesticides during agricultural pesticide applications. The 2015 revision of the standard requires employers to keep workers and others out of certain areas around pesticide application equipment during ongoing applications.  A pre-publication copy of an upcoming Federal Register notice (PDF) explains more about EPA’s reconsideration of these requirements. Most of the requirements of the 2015 revision of EPA’s worker protection standard went into effect on Jan. 2, 2017. Further requirements related to pesticide safety training and pesticide safety information went into effect on Jan. 2, 2018. EPA states that these compliance dates will remain in effect. More information on the agricultural worker protection standard is available on EPA's website.