Pesticide Applicator Training

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University of Wisconsin

Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

Updated: August, 2017 (Revised: Added the new safety poster information and image. This poster is now available, however it is not mandatory till 2018.)

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a set of Federal standards designed to protect agricultural employees from occupational exposure to pesticides [CFR 170]. The WPS was originally established in 1992 and revised in 2016. The new revisions go into effect in two stages. The first stage will go into effect January 2nd, 2017 and the second stage January 2nd, 2018. Below are some of the highlights of WPS. Not all the details are provided in this page, to get more detail see the code of federal regulation 170.

How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard

PERC Quick Reference GuideIn Spanish

Scope

This regulation covers pesticides that are used in the production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. So, if you employ people and use pesticides in the production of an agricultural commodity the WPS applies to you.

Definition of an agricultural plant:

Agricultural plant means any plant, or part thereof, grown, maintained, or otherwise produced for commercial purposes, including growing, maintaining or otherwise producing plants for sale or trade, for research or experimental purposes, or for use in part or their entirety in another location. Agricultural plant includes, but is not limited to, grains, fruits and vegetables; wood fiber or timber products; flowering and foliage plants and trees; seedlings and transplants; and turf grass produced for sod. Agricultural plant does not include pasture or rangeland used for grazing.

Covered Employee Types

The WPS groups employees into three groups. 1. Immediate Family; 2. Workers and 3. Handlers.

  • Immediate Family: spouse, parents, stepparents, foster parents, father-in-law, mother-in-law, children, stepchildren, foster children, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins. NEW: first cousins was added expanding the definition of immediate family.
  • Worker: employees, including a self-employed person, who perform tasks directly related to the production of agricultural plants. This includes harvesting, processing, weeding, transplanting, etc.
  • Handler: employees, including a self-employed person, who performs tasks that directly involve pesticides. This includes applications, mixing & loading, disposing of containers, working with application equipment, flagger, etc.

Crop advisers could be considered a fourth group, but they are not given under idea.

Three Main Principles

The WPS uses three main principles to describe its requirements:

  • Information: Informing employees about the possible risks/hazards related to working with and around pesticides is the first step in them being able to avoid them. Some who may be employed may not have any knowledge of pesticides and not being informed may lead to an accident. If workers do not know that pesticides take time to breakdown and contact with plants, soil, equipment etc., they may not know how to avoid exposing themselves to pesticides after an application. Giving employees information includes annual training, posting the pesticide safety poster, and having a listing of what products have been used.
  • Protection: Employees may understand the possible risks/hazards related to working with and around pesticides, but if they are not provided the tools to avoid these risks/hazards accidents may happen. Employers must provide notification of which fields have been treated, provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels to the people who use pesticides.
  • Mitigation: No matter how well we train and prepare for accidents, they still can happen. If accidental exposure happens, it is important to have in place ways to reduce the impacts of those accidents. This includes supplying decontamination sites, eye flush supplies, transportation to medical facilities and having the information needed to facilitate medical help.

Let’s look at each of these with a little more detail.

Information

Annual Training

Who Needs Training

NEW: In the past, training had to be done every five years. In the new rules all workers and handlers will have to go through annual training.

All workers and handlers require annual training before they can perform tasks in treated areas or perform handlers tasks.  A treated area is any area that has had a Restricted Entry Interval expire in the past 30 days. Workers or handlers that are certified applicators do not require annual training.

Who can Train

Any certified applicator (Private or Commercial) can provide the training. Individuals who have gone through an EPA-approved “Train the Trainer” program can train. WDATCP and the UW PAT Program recommend Iowa State University’s online Course
[ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/workerprotection/ ].

Training Requirements

  • EPA-Approved training materials have to be used in the training. These materials will cover the many topics that are required. As in the past, there will be movies available to use in training. These training materials are being developed by the Pesticide Educational Resource Collaborative. Click their logo below to go to the site.

  • See Appendix A below for a detailed list of required training topics.
  • The trainer must be present during the whole training.
  • Training records have to be taken and kept by the employer for 2 years:
    • Employee’s name (printed and signature)
    • Date of training
    • Information identifying which EPA-approved training material was used
    • Trainer’s name and documents showing that the trainer met requirement (pesticide certification number, “train the trainer” certificate number)
    • Employer’s name
  • Training has to be given in a manner that the employees understand. Training materials will be provided in several different languages to aid in this.
  • Worker and handler training have many of the same requirements, however handler training is more extensive and covers topics that workers do not require.
  • Provide specific information to your employees regarding YOUR specific operation, for example, where your information will be posted, how you are going to notify them regarding treated areas, etc.

NEW: New topics were added. Warnings regarding take home exposure were strengthened. Warnings not to take pesticide or their containers home, information about laundering work clothes, the increased risks to pregnant women and children, etc.

The Safety Poster

NEW: The new safety poster is available and will require posting after Jan 2nd, 2018.  The poster is available at the PERC Web Site – Safety Poster

The safety poster is to be posted:

  • In a common area where employees will gather,
  • at permanent mixing & loading sites and,
  • at any decontamination site where 11 or more employees are working.

The safety poster should be filled out, providing the information for the closest medical facility.

NEW: In the new poster and rules you will have to include the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s contact information. Each state will have different contact information.

Access to Specific Application Information

The WPS requires that specific application information be posted. This is to be posted in the general access location, typically where your safety poster is posted. Pesticides without a “Agricultural Use Requirements” do not have to be posted. However, if it is labeled in Agriculture, it probably has one of these.  The following information must be posted:

  • Location of treatment
  • Product name
  • EPA registration number
  • Active ingredient
  • Date and approximate start and stop times
  • Duration of REI

This information has to be posted for 30 days after the last REI expires.

Remember, pesticide application records (commercial) and Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) have to be kept for 2 years, atrazine products for 3 years in Wisconsin. To make things easier, design a record to post that keeps the information to cover both these requirements and then keep it after posting has expired.

Regular records also require:

  • The first and last name of the individual making the pesticide application.
  • The name and address of the customer, if any, for whom the pesticide was applied.
  • The crop, commodity, or site to which the pesticide was applied.
  • A specific description of the location of the pesticide application site. The description shall contain sufficient information and detail so that the location of the pesticide application site may be readily determined.
  • At least one of the following:
    • The concentration and total quantity of each pesticide applied.
    • The amount of pesticide product applied per unit area and the total area treated.
  • Each location, other than a business location licensed under s. ATCP 29.20, at which the pesticide was mixed or loaded. Mixing and loading sites need not be identified if the pesticide is applied directly from a prepackaged retail container, or is applied with application equipment having a total capacity of not more than 5 gallons of liquid pesticide or 50 pounds dry pesticide.
Place SDS in a binder and leave it near the common area for employees to inspect if they wish.

Place SDS in a binder and leave it near the common area for employees to inspect if they wish.

NEW: as part of WPS posting requirements the employer now also has to make available the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) of all agricultural use products. Product SDS can be found at www.cdms.net. An idea is to put all SDS in a binder and leave that binder in the same location were you post your applications.

The Employer is responsible for assuring that every handler has access to pesticide labels and assures that handlers do not use the products illegal or in a way that puts other at risk.

Protection

Minimum Age Requirement

NEW: handlers and early-entry workers must be at least 18 years of age.

Restricted Entry Interval

The REI is found in the Agricultural Use Requirements box.

The REI is found in the Agricultural Use Requirements box.

The Restricted Entry Interval (REI) is a period of time where only trained and equipped handlers can enter the treatment area. The length depends on the product being used. Many glyphosate products will have a REI of 4 hours. The Agricultural Use Requirements box will tell you the REI. Some products can have more than one REI, based on the type of application or crop.

Workers have to stay out of the treatment area (regardless of PPE). Exceptions to this are:

  • Employer can assure that worker will not come in contact with any treated plant, soil, water or surface.
  • Worker can enter for a short period of time if:
    • No hand labor is performed
    • Entry is NOT within 4 hours of application
    • Entry is no more than 1 hour in a 24-hour period
  • Emergency situations, there is a big detailed definition of this, please see the actual regulation [CFR 170.603(4)(c)]

Notification

If workers or handlers enter or perform tasks within 1/4 mile of any treated area (an area that is within 30 days of the last REI expiration) they have to be notified of the fact. Workers that do NOT come in contact with treated plants, soil, water, or equipment are exempt from this. For example somebody passing a field in a mule boy. Notification can be done one of two ways:

  • Orally
    • Tell workers and handlers (including commercial applicators if they did not do the application) before application and during the application.
      • Location and description of treated area
      • Date and times entry is restricted
      • AEZ (see below), REI, and not to enter during the REI
  • Posting of warning signs
    • The Worker Protection notification sign.

      The WPS warning sign.

      These signs can be bought at most supply companies.

    • Post within 24 hours of application
    • Taken down 3 days after last REI expires
    • Can remain up only if they remain legible and no workers are allowed to enter the treated area.
    • Place signs so they can be seen at all reasonably expected entrances to the treatment area.

NEW: the posting of signs is required if the label requires it or if the product being used has an REI greater than 48 hours (outdoor applications) or greater than 4 hours (enclosed applications).

Dual Notice Pesticides

These are unique pesticides where labels require both oral AND posting. For a list of Dual Notice Pesticides follow this link [click]

Applications

Employees must assure that handlers under their employ are not applying pesticides in such a manner as to expose other handlers, workers and people.

Notification to Commercial Applicators

If you contract with a commercial applicator it is your obligation to notify the employer of the commercial applicator if the applicator is to be within 1/4 miles of any areas under a REI. You are also required to warn them of any restrictions that may be on the label.

Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ)

A 25 ft application exclusion zone.

A 25 ft. application exclusion zone.

NEW: The application exclusion zone is something that has been added with this past revision.

The AEZ is a 25 or 100 foot exclusion zone where if anybody (excluding the applicator) enters, the application has to stop. The application can continue once the applicator can assure there is no risk of exposure. This requirement will go into effect January 2nd, 2018.

The AEZ can extend beyond the property line and includes workers and other persons (non-employees).

100 foot AEZ for the following applications – Aerially, air blast, fumigants, smoke, mist, or fogs. Fine sprays are used (median diameter less than 294).

25 foot AEZ for the following applications – Applications greater than 12  inches above the target with medium or larger droplet sizes. (Medium to coarse is given at volume median diameter greater than 294 microns. See the specs of the nozzles you are using for indications of droplet size.)

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide additional PPE other than everyday work clothes.

  • Shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeved shirt, everyday work clothes – Employees’ responsibility
  • Gloves, respirators, rubber boots, aprons, spray suits, coveralls, eye protection – Employer’s responsibility

Required PPE will be listed on the label of the product being used. Employer has to assure that the PPE is maintained in the recommended manner by the manufacturer and clean.

Respirators

When doing applications where the label requires respirators, an employer is responsible in assuring that respirators are provided, that the respirator fits the employee properly and are maintained according to the manufacturers specifications.

NEW: It is the employer’s responsibility to assure that employees receive respirator  fit-testing, training and medical evaluation.

Mitigation

No matter how well you prepare for an emergency or how you protect your employees, accidents can still happen. The WPS requires a standard of response when an accident occurs.

Decontamination Supplies

When a pesticide gets on our skin or in our eyes it starts to adsorb into our bodies. The hazard of this depends on many things including the specific product involved, the amount of exposure, and the product’s formulation. The longer that pesticide remains on our skin, the more that can potentially get into our bodies. Decontamination sites and supplies provided where workers and handlers are performing tasks expedites the removing of pesticides from the body.

Decontamination Supplies Include

Decontamination sites require the following:

  • 1 gallon of clean water / worker and 3 gallons / handler.
  • Plenty of soap.
  • Enough single-use towels to dry the body.
  • When using pressurized equipment or products that require eye protection, provided a system to flush eyes.
  • Provide coveralls or change of clothing for handlers.

Decontamination Supplies Location

Decontamination supplies have to be located within 1/4 miles of workers and handlers working in treated areas. They also have to be provided at mixing and loading sites.

Medical Emergencies

if there is reason to believe that the worker or handler has been poisoned or injured by a pesticide used on the agricultural establishment the employer must make sure transportation to a medical facility is available. Employers can “make transportation available” by:

  • Taking the employee to the emergency medical facility.
  • Calling an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance.
  • Making sure the employee has a ride to the medical facility with someone else.

Take or send the following along to the medical facility:

  • the SDS
  • Product name, EPA registration number, and active ingredient(s)
  • Description of how the pesticide was used
  • how the employee might have become exposed to the pesticide

Retaliatory Responses

An employer can not retaliate for any of the provisions afforded to workers and handlers in the WPS.

Request for Information

Employers must provide application information to past employees or their representatives up to 2 years after employment.

APPENDIX A

The following is taken directly from the Federal Code of Regulations.

170.401(c)(2) Minimum training topic requirements for Workers

(i) Where and in what form pesticides may be encountered during work activities.

(ii) Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.

(iii) Routes through which pesticides can enter the body.

(iv) Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.

(v) Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.

(vi) How to obtain emergency medical care.

(vii) Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye flushing techniques.

(viii) Hazards from chemigation and drift.

(ix) Hazards from pesticide residues on clothing.

(x) Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.

(xi) Requirements of this subpart designed to reduce the risks of illness or injury resulting from workers’ occupational exposure to pesticides, including application and entry restrictions, the design of the warning sign, posting of warning signs, oral warnings, the availability of specific information about applications, and the protection against retaliatory acts.

EPA will provide Training materials that will cover the following:

(i) The responsibility of agricultural employers to provide workers and handlers with information and protections designed to reduce work-related pesticide exposures and illnesses. This includes ensuring workers and handlers have been trained on pesticide safety, providing pesticide safety and application and hazard information, decontamination supplies and emergency medical assistance, and notifying workers of restrictions during applications and on entering pesticide treated areas. A worker or handler may designate in writing a representative to request access to pesticide  application and hazard information.

(ii) How to recognize and understand the meaning of the posted warning signs used for notifying workers of restrictions on entering pesticide treated areas on the establishment.

(iii) How to follow directions and/or signs about keeping out of pesticide treated areas subject to a restricted-entry interval and application exclusion zones.

(iv) Where and in what forms pesticides may be encountered during work activities, and potential sources of pesticide exposure on the agricultural establishment. This includes exposure to pesticide residues that may be on or in plants, soil, tractors, application and chemigation equipment, or used personal protective equipment, and that pesticides may drift through the air from nearby applications or be in irrigation water.

(v) Potential hazards from toxicity and exposure that pesticides present to workers and their families, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.

(vi) Routes through which pesticides can enter the body.

(vii) Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.

(viii) Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.

(ix) Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye flushing techniques, and if pesticides are spilled or sprayed on the body to use decontamination supplies to wash immediately or rinse off in the nearest clean water, including springs, streams, lakes or other sources if more readily available than decontamination supplies, and as soon as possible, wash or shower with soap and water, shampoo hair, and change into clean clothes.

(x) How and when to obtain emergency medical care.

(xi) When working in pesticide treated areas, wear work clothing that protects the body from pesticide residues and wash hands before eating, drinking, using chewing gum or tobacco, or using the toilet.

(xii) Wash or shower with soap and water, shampoo hair, and change into clean clothes as soon as possible after working in pesticide treated areas.

(xiii) Potential hazards from pesticide residues on clothing.

(xiv) Wash work clothes before wearing them again and wash them separately from other clothes.

(xv) Do not take pesticides or pesticide containers used at work to your home.

(xvi) Safety data sheets provide hazard, emergency medical treatment and other information about the pesticides used on the establishment they may come in contact with. The responsibility of agricultural employers to do all of the following:

(A) Display safety data sheets for all pesticides used on the establishment.

(B) Provide workers and handlers information about the location of the safety data sheets on the establishment.

(C) Provide workers and handlers unimpeded access to safety data sheets during normal work hours.

(xvii) The rule prohibits agricultural employers from allowing or directing any worker to mix, load or apply pesticides or assist in the application of pesticides unless the worker has been trained as a handler.

(xviii) The responsibility of agricultural employers to provide specific information to workers before directing them to perform early-entry activities. Workers must be 18 years old to perform early-entry activities.

(xix) Potential hazards to children and pregnant women from pesticide exposure.

(xx) Keep children and nonworking family members away from pesticide treated areas.

(xxi) After working in pesticide treated areas, remove work boots or shoes before entering your home, and remove work clothes and wash or shower before physical contact with children or family members.

(xxii) How to report suspected pesticide use violations to the State or Tribal agency responsible for pesticide enforcement.

(xxiii) The rule prohibits agricultural employers from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any worker or handler for complying with or attempting to comply with the requirements of this rule, or because the worker or handler provided, caused to be provided or is about to provide information to the employer or the EPA or its agents regarding conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates this part, and/or made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning compliance with this rule.

170.501 Training requirements for Handlers

 170.501(c)(2) Minimum training topic requirements

(i) Format and meaning of information contained on pesticide labels and in labeling, including safety information such as precautionary statements about human health hazards.

(ii) Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.

(iii) Routes by which pesticides can enter the body.

(iv) Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.

(v) Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.

(vi) How to obtain emergency medical care.

(vii) Routine and emergency decontamination procedures.

(viii) Need for and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.

(ix) Prevention, recognition, and first aid treatment of heat-related illness.

(x) Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.

(xi) Environmental concerns such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.

(xii) Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.

(xiii) Requirements of this subpart that must be followed by handler employers for the protection of handlers and other persons, including the prohibition against applying pesticides in a manner that will cause contact with workers or other persons, the requirement to use personal protective equipment, the provisions for training and decontamination, and the protection against retaliatory acts.

EPA will provide Training materials that will cover the following:

(i) All the topics required by §170.401(c)(3). (same topics required for worker training), plus,

(ii) Information on proper application and use of pesticides.

(iii) Handlers must follow the portions of the labeling applicable to the safe use of the pesticide.

(iv) Format and meaning of information contained on pesticide labels and in labeling applicable to the safe use of the pesticide.

(v) Need for and appropriate use and removal of all personal protective equipment.

(vi) How to recognize, prevent, and provide first aid treatment for heat-related illness.

(vii) Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.

(viii) Environmental concerns, such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.

(ix) Handlers must not apply pesticides in a manner that results in contact with workers or other persons.

(x) The responsibility of handler employers to provide handlers with information and protections designed to reduce work-related pesticide exposures and illnesses. This includes providing, cleaning, maintaining, storing, and ensuring proper use of all required personal protective equipment; providing decontamination supplies; and providing specific information about pesticide use and labeling information.

(xi) Handlers must suspend a pesticide application if workers or other persons are in the application exclusion zone.

(xii) Handlers must be at least 18 years old.

(xiii) The responsibility of handler employers to ensure handlers have received respirator fit-testing, training and medical evaluation if they are required to wear a respirator by the product labeling.

(xiv) The responsibility of agricultural employers to post treated areas as required by this rule.

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