EPA extends comment period on changes to worker protection rule

05/14/2014 03:23:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Vicky BoydProposed changes to the Worker Protection Standard would further protect workers in neighboring fields from pesticide overspray and fumes.The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period to Aug. 18 on a proposal to strengthen provisions of the agricultural Worker Protection Standard.

The proposal represents more than a decade of input from the agricultural industry as well as from federal and state agencies and regulators. The EPA published the original proposal in the Federal Register in February.

Among the proposed changes are:

• Barring children under 16 from handling all pesticides except on family farms.

• Increased frequency of mandatory training to inform farmworkers about protections they're afforded under the law. Currently, they only have to undergo training once every five years.

• Expand mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides.

• No-entry buffer areas surrounding pesticide-treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure to pesticide overspray and fumes.

• Personal protection equipment—PPE—requirements must be consistent with those of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

You can view the full proposal in the Federal Register.

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