New Worker Protection Standard Rules In Effect

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The Worker Protection Standards (WPS) established specific requirements for employers to follow in order to reduce the potential for worker exposure to pesticides. New revisions to these standards went into effect January 2, 2017. They will give farm workers health protections similar to those that are already afforded to workers in other industries.

There is a new training requirement. In the past, employers had to provide training once every five years to inform farm workers regarding required protections afforded to them. Starting this year, this training is an annual requirement. In addition, employers must provide additional training with instruction to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.

There is now a minimum age requirement that prevents children under the age of 18 from handling pesticides.

Starting this year, there is a mandatory record-keeping of all records of application-specific pesticide information, as well as farm worker training, and these must be kept for 2 years.

In addition to the above changes, there are new requirements for posting, for personal protective equipment and the amounts of water necessary for worker decontamination.

The exemption for farm owners and their immediate families is still in effect with further clarifications.

A quick reference guide of the newly updated WPS is available online.