EPA Revises Farm Worker Protection Standards

Posted on 9/29/2015 by Roger Marks

On September 28, 2015, US EPA announced revised worker protection standards for farm workers exposed to pesticides on the job. The new standards will apply to agricultural workers who perform certain labor tasks in pesticide-treated crops and pesticide handlers who mix, load, and apply pesticides. According to US EPA, the rulemaking will affect about two million US workers.

EPA’s revisions expand the employee training requirements, put in place a minimum age requirement for handling pesticides, add hazard communication and recordkeeping requirements, and change standards for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Farm workers applying EPA regulated pesticides

“Immediate Family” Exemption Remains

The exemption granted for farm owners and their immediate family will remain in place and now include an exemption from the new minimum age requirement for handling pesticides. EPA also expanded the definition of “immediate family” to include aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins.

EPA’s Fact Sheet on the new rulemaking lists major changes to the worker protection standard, including:
  • Replacing the current five year re-training requirement with an annual training standard to inform farmworkers on required protections;
  • Expanding training to cover reducing take-home exposure from pesticides on clothing;
  • Adding a minimum age requirement: children under 18 are prohibited from handling pesticides;
  • Expanding posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides;
  • New no-entry application-exclusion zones up to 100 feet surrounding pesticide application equipment;
  • Requirement to provide more than one way for farmworkers to access pesticide application information and Safety Data Sheets, i.e., post them centrally and make them available upon request;
  • New recordkeeping requirements: records of application-specific pesticide information and farmworker training must be kept for two years;
  • Whistle-blower protections;
  • Changes in PPE standards for testing, fitting, medical evaluation, and training;
  • Standardizing required amounts of water to be used for routine washing, eye flushing, and other decontamination activities; and
  • Continuing the exemption for farm owners and their immediate family, with an expanded definition of “immediate family.”
A pre-publication version of the EPA rulemaking is available here. EPA’s new pesticide exposure standards for farm workers will be posted to the Federal Register within 60 days and become effective about 14 months after publication.

Nationally-Trusted Training for EHS Managers

Presented in cities nationwide, the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshops is trusted by site managers, EHS professionals, and safety and compliance officers who want an interactive, engaging learning experience. The workshop covers core elements of major EPA programs like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, EPCRA, RCRA, CERCLA, TSCA, FIFRA, and more. Get up to speed with new and changing regulations, and build confidence to make the important decisions that keep your site in compliance with EPA rules.

Tags: FIFRA, pesticides

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician

The instructor created a great learning environment.

Avinash Thummadi

CAD & Environmental Manager

Lion's training was by far the best online RCRA training I've ever taken. It was challenging and the layout was great!

Paul Harbison

Hazardous Waste Professional

Lion courses always set the bar for content, reference, and practical application. Membership and access to the experts is an added bonus.

John Brown, CSP

Director of Safety & Env Affairs

Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.

Michele Irmen

Sr. Environmental Engineer

Lion was very extensive. There was a lot of things that were covered that were actually pertaining to what I do and work with. Great Job. I will be coming back in three years!

Tony Petrik

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.

David Hertvik

Vice President

Excellent. I learned more in two days with Lion than at a 5-day program I took with another provider.

Francisco Gallardo

HES Technician

Very witty instructor, made the long times sitting bearable. One of the few training courses I can say I actually enjoyed.

John Hutchinson

Senior EHS Engineer

We have a very busy work schedule and using Lion enables us to take the course at our own time. It makes it easy for me to schedule my employees' training.

Timothy Mertes

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

A guide to developing standard operating procedures, or SOPs, that help you select, manage, and audit your hazmat agents and contractors.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.