The EHS Daily Advisor reports that this past November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended the Pesticide Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The Standard applies to commercial applicators as well as agricultural applicators, reports the EHS Daily Advisor. EHS is an on-line resource for occupational safety and health, regulatory, environmental management and risk management information.
The Standard outlines staggered compliance deadlines and a dizzying array of issues with which those affected by the amendments must contend. What are the critical changes in the amended standard and when are the deadlines for compliance?
The final rule amending the WPS was effective January 1, 2016. Agricultural employers and handlers will be required to comply with most of the new requirements by January 2, 2017, but compliance with other components is not required until January 1, 2018, or later. Before we look at some of the new requirements and compliance dates, let’s take a look at the reality of who is actually affected by the changes to the WPS.
Note: The “or later” is applicable to the new training requirements for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The EPA is developing training materials. Compliance with the new training requirements is required 180 days after the notice of availability of the training materials in the Federal Register but no earlier than January 1, 2018. Meaning, the compliance deadline could be later than January 1, 2018, if the EPA does not make the training materials available by July 1, 2017.
Well, it’s a standard to protect farmworkers, so farms are affected. Certainly true, but the impact of the WPS amendments go far beyond the farm fields. Those affected include not only owners, field supervisors, and workers who grow fruits and vegetables on farms, but also:
- Pesticide applicators and pesticide trainers
- Owners/employers on agricultural establishments that grow and harvest for commercial production:
- Timber and trees in forests and nurseries
- Plants in greenhouses and nurseries
- Employers of researchers who help grow and harvest plants
- Employers at commercial pesticide-handling establishments