In late September, 2015, EPA announced revisions to the Worker Protection Standard or WPS, which is a Federal law that provides protections against pesticide exposures for over two million Americans who work on farms, or in nurseries, greenhouses, or forests. In many cases, this includes self-employed individuals. The law applies whenever a pesticide whose label references the Worker Protection Standard is used.
There is a very brief and general video from EPA announcing the change here, but it doesn’t contain much useful information. There is a much more informative table, which compares the new 2015 requirements to the original 1992 requirements here. There is another good summary here, which includes links to additional information.
A few notable highlights:
- For the first time ever, there will now be a minimum age requirement for pesticide handlers and early re-entry workers (18 years).
- Another major change; pesticide safety training must be provided annually, rather than every 5 years, and the content requirements for the training has more than doubled, from 11 and 13 topics for workers and handlers (respectively) to 23 and 36. This means MUCH more in-depth training, provided MUCH more frequently. Grace periods for providing training have also been eliminated. Most changes to training requirements will take effect two years after the effective date which has yet to be established.
- There will be many more requirements for documentation, including training records.
- There are also major changes pertaining to information that must be provided to workers and handlers, including a requirement to provide Safety Data Sheets (formerly Material Safety Data Sheets) in a central location, rather than just providing the trade name/identity of the pesticide being applied.
The changes will take effect 14 months after they are published in the Federal Register.