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worker handling fresh greens in packing house

Revised Worker Protection Standard: Training Opportunities

For those growers that use pesticides, you need to familiar yourself with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS).  WPS is a federal regulation that is designed to protect agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.  An EPA guidance document on how to comply with the Revised WPS can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/pesticide-worker-protection-standard-how-comply-manual.   There are some key revisions that you should be aware of before your FDACS inspector comes a knockin’.

Key Revisions

  1. All workers and handlers that are exposed to pesticides must be trained every YEAR by a certified trainer and records must be maintained for two years. EPA-approved training materials must be used.  In the past, certification was only required every five years.
  2. An updated WPS safety poster must be posted in a central location for all employees. Additional information must also be posted prior to and 30 days after a pesticide application.  The information posted must include:
  • Product name, EPA registration number, and active ingredient
  • Crop or site treated, location and description of treated area
  • Date, start and end time of the application, and duration of restricted entry
  • Safety data sheets for the formulated product for each labeled pesticide applied.

If eleven (11) or more workers are working in the field where the pesticide was applied, then another poster must be placed in the field along with decontamination supplies.  The SDS sheets do not have to be at the field location, but only at the central location.

  1. The application exclusion zone (AEZ) is the area that surrounds the pesticide application equipment while in operation. A handler must temporarily suspend pesticide application if anyone besides a trained handler is inside the AEZ.  The AEZ can extend beyond the property boundary, and generally extends 100 yards around the equipment but more specific details are included in the Standard.

Training Opportunities

September 20, 2018

The UF/IFAS Flagler County Extension office (150 Sawgrass Road in Bunnell) is offering EPA-approved training and certification for all handlers and workers on September 20, 2018.  There is an English session (9:00 to 10:30 AM) and a Spanish session (10:30 AM to 12:00PM).  Food will be provided and preregistration is required along with a $10 registration fee.  Register your employees now at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/worker-protection-standard-handlerworker-training-sessions-tickets-48815339996

October 24, 2018

The UF/IFAS Putnam County Extension office is offering an informational session on how to comply with the Revised WPS.  Ed Harris, FDACS inspector, will present the material and answer any questions you may have.  Two (2) CEUs are available for any licensed pesticide applicator – one (1) Standard CORE CEU and (1) private applicator CEU – that attends the informational session from 1:00 to 4:00PM at the Putnam County Extension Office located at 111 Yelvington Road in East Palatka.  This session is free and no registration is required.

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