New Rules for Pesticide Certification and Training
This web page addresses the changes as they relate to the State of Wisconsin.
NOTE: We will update this web page as the State of Wisconsin rules adjust to the new requirements. Last updated: February, 2017.
The new rules were posted in the Federal Register on January 4, 2017. It will take time before the new requirements are implemented in Wisconsin. States have three years to modify existing state plans to comply with the new requirements, and an additional two years may be granted by the EPA if requested. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is preparing a plan that will have to be accepted by the EPA and then the State Statues will have to be opened and changed to fit the new C&T rules. So, we have some time before these rules kick in.
Be aware that although State law has to meet these new requirements, a State can exceed the requirements. Meaning that a State can require additional requirements beyond those listed in the new rules.
DATCP’s How to Comply Manuals: [ https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/HowToComplyManuals.aspx ]
To purchase Training materials for certification: [ https://patstore.wisc.edu/secure/default.asp ]
What is this Certification & Training Thing?
As part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) applicators who use restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) have to go through a certification process that requires some form of training. Approximately 5% of pesticides are registered as restricted-use. The basis of this rule is set by the EPA, then each state can add to it as needed. In Wisconsin, an example of an added rule is that commercial applicators that apply any pesticide (RUP or not) have to be certified.
The EPA has recently reviewed its portion of the Certification & Training rule and made revisions. This page will highlight some of the rules and how they relate to Wisconsin pesticide applicators. If you are reading this from another state, please look to the Pesticide Safety Education system or your state regulatory agency within that state.
The following information has been mined from various EPA Public Documents, predominantly from the “Detailed Comparison of Revisions to EPA’s Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule (40 CFR 171).” [ https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/certification-pesticide-applicators-revised-rule-comparison ]
General EPA site for the rule – [ https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/revised-certification-standards-pesticide-applicators ]
Enhance Private Applicator Competency Standards
There are specific topics that have to be covered in the training. The topics are:
- Label and Labeling comprehension
- Application techniques
- Laws and regulations
- Responsibilities for supervisors of noncertified applicators
In Wisconsin, Private applicators have a choice on whether they wish to participate in a live training or not. They can “Self-Train” by studying the training materials and taking the test or they can add a county based training if they wish also. Private applicator training and testing is done provided within counties. Contact your local county extension office for details.
The training materials covers what is required by the new rules, so we are essentially doing most of it all ready. Applicators are tested on material every five years. The manual has the bulk of information for training purposes and should be kept as a reference guide for the five years of certification. It contains:
- Section I Pest – Insects and Their Relatives; Weeds; Plant Diseases; Rodents; Birds; Pests of Stored Grain and Livestock Pests.
- Section II About Pesticides – Pesticides; Formulations
- Section III Pesticides and the Law – Pesticide Regulations and The Pesticide Label.
- Section IV Health Precautions – Pesticide Risks to People; Protecting Yourself; Responding to Pesticide Exposures; Heath Stress and Employee Training.
- Section V – Transporting Pesticides; Storing Pesticides; Mixing and Loading and Managing Wastes.
- Section VI Pesticide Emergencies – Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know and Pesticide Spills and Fires.
- Section VII Applying Pesticides – Safety Concerns; Methods and Equipment and Calibration
- Section VIII Keeping Pesticides on Target – Pesticides in the Environment; Overspray and Drift; Nontarget Organisms and Pesticide Resistance.
Attending a training through the County based Private Applicator training system is broken down like so:
- Integrated Pest Management
- Laws and Regulations of Pesticides
- Pesticide Safety
- Pesticide Labels
- Handling of Pesticides
- Pesticide Emergencies
- Staying On Target
The tenth topic is a revolving topic. This is a topic that has relevance to the year it is being presented. In 2017 the revolving topic is the Worker Protection Standard, a set of standards that were changed in 2016 and are going into effect in 2017.
Some of the Private Applicator Topics will have to be tweaked to be compliant to EPA Requirements. The test provided by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will be adjusted also. The Private Applicator training will be updated for 2018 and will reflect the C&T changes as well as the new Worker Protection Standard changes.
Strengthen Private Applicator Competency Gauge
In the new rules, Private applicators must either attend a training program covering the mandatory competency standards or pass a written exam.
Every applicator presently is required to pass a certification exam every five years. Applicators can choose to “self-study” or attend a training; however, all options require taking the State’s certification exam.
Eliminate Non-reader Certification for Private Applicators
The EPA is removing the “non-reader” option for persons who cannot read to obtain certification to use specific RUP’s [171.11(c)(7)(H)(IV)].
There will be no change in Wisconsin. State rules require that applicators who seek certification show the ability to read and follow written pesticide labels. Due to the fact that pesticide labels are not mandated in other languages (at this time) other than English (some labels are available in Spanish), applicants who seek certification have to be able to read and follow an English Label.
Establish Additional Categories for Private and Commercial Applicator Certification
The EPA is requiring States to add the categories of a) aerial application; b) soil fumigation; c) and non-soil fumigation.
Wisconsin already has these categories. Aerial application (category 9.9 commercial and 111 private); soil fumigation (Category 25 commercial and 107 private) and Space & Commodity Fumigation (Category 7.2 commercial).
Establish Predator Control Categories for Private and Commercial Applicator Certification
This change promotes the creation of categories for specific uses. Examples of these are for the use of sodium fluoroacetate in livestock protection collars and sodium cyanide delivered through M-44 devices. This will be left for the State to adopt or not. If the category is not needed in a State it will not be required.
Presently, DATCP requires that applicators obtain a joint DNR-DATCP permit for the use of sodium fluoroacetate and there are no uses labeled for sodium cyanide in Wisconsin. DATCP will consider if this category is necessary in Wisconsin.
Identification of Candidate for Certification and Recertification
The EPA rules will require a government-issued photo identification OR other similarly reliable form of identification approved by the certifying authority for initial certification and recertification by exam.
Nothing will change with Wisconsin’s current rules. Photo ID is required to take the certification test. Those that don’t have photo ID’s due to religious reasons can contact DATCP for further instructions.
Establish Exam Standards
All exams must be proctored. Only materials approved by DATCP can be provided during the test then collected by the proctor. Meaning no materials used during the test can leave with the applicator taking the test.
In Wisconsin, commercial applicators have to take and pass a closed book exam. Private applicators are given an “open book” exam. With each training fee, applicators get a General Farm (or Fruit Crop or Greenhouse & Nursery) manual. In the case of private applicators, they are allowed to use the manual during the test. In the new EPA rules that material could not leave the testing area.
How DATCP and the UW PAT program will comply is yet to be determined. Several options are being weighed. More on this as the implementation period progresses.
Establish a Minimum Age for Certified Applicators.
The EPA has created a minimum age for those who work with restricted-use pesticides. Applicators, mixer and loaders, and people who work with application equipment that use will have to be 18 or older.
There is an immediate family member exemption. Persons who are being supervised by an immediate family member have to be 16 and over.
Wisconsin does not have a minimum age requirement for certifying applicators. Currently, commercial applicators cannot obtain an individual commercial pesticide applicator license until they are 16 years old. The age requirement for applicator certification will be raised to 18. Since Wisconsin has no “supervisory” role in commercial certification any applicator for-hire will have to be at least 18 years of age. Anyone under 18 will more than likely NOT be able to apply or work with.
Keep in mind that the Worker Protection Standard has set its minimum age to 18 also.
Employees that are handlers are required to be 18 or over.
Establish a National Certification Period
The EPA’s final rule has set a national certification period at 5 years maximum.
In compliance. Wisconsin’s certification period is presently at 5 years.
Some States have a continuing education recertification process. Applicators have to attend set hours of continuing education over the certification period. Other states require that an exam be done to recertify. In Wisconsin, we require the latter, a test has to be passed every five years.
The new rules require states to have a process for reviewing and updating as necessary the written examinations.
Training materials and exams are updated every 5 years. This is in compliance so no changes are required.
Commercial Applicator Recordkeeping
States must require commercial applicators to maintain specific records about RUP use.
Wisconsin requires commercial applicators to keep records of all applications for 2 years, or for 3 years if using atrazine and isoxaflutole. Private applicators are required to keep records of RUPs for 2 years, or 3 years for atrazine and isoxaflutole. Wisconsin recordkeeping requirements can be found in this DATCP factsheet: [ https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/HTCGenAppRecordExample.pdf ]
RUP Dealer Recordkeeping
The new rules require businesses that sell RUPs to keep records. The information that these businesses have to keep are:
- Name and address of each person the RUP was distributed or sold to.
- The applicator’s certification expiration date, and categories of certification.
- The products name and EPA registration numbers.
- The quantity distributed or sold.
- Date of transaction.
Wisconsin already requires that business that sell RUP must keep records for 2 years [ATCP 29.16]. The following has to be kept:
- Pesticide brand name.
- Pesticide manufacturer or labeler.
- EPA Registration number.
- Amount sold or distributed.
- The date of sale or distribution.
- Name of purchaser or intended recipient and the commercial application business number, restricted use dealer license number, applicator license and certification number, if any.
- Name and address of the person to whom the seller delivered custody of the pesticide, if other than the purchaser or intended recipient.
Businesses that do the above have to keep these records for two years and make the records available to DATCP for inspection. Also, each year dealers report the names and addresses of their pesticide suppliers and the amount of each pesticide sold or distributed in the past 12 months. This has to be submitted every year no later than October 30 [ATCP 29.15(9)].
There are other rule changes; however, these are for various administrative requirements that the State’s regulatory agency, in our case DATCP, will have to comply with.
Many of the rules that the EPA have changed are designed to bring all states up to the same base level. However, each state is allowed to tailor their details to their objectives as long as they are within the requirements of the EPA’s rules. This is an attempt to standardize things nationally, but a high degree of variability still exists. Luckily or unluckily, depending on how you feel, Wisconsin already had rules in place that met or exceeded these changes.