Revisions to EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard 2016

— Written By

Compliance with most new requirements by Jan 2, 2017 Except: New Training Material,

New Safety Poster, and AEZ (Application Exclusion Zone). Compliance with all requirements by Jan 2, 2018.

1-Revisions: Pesticide Safety Training


  • Pesticide safety training every 5 years for Workers and Handlers


  • No “grace period” Agricultural workers must be trained before entering any field that has had an REI in effect within the past 30 days.
  • Pesticide training every year for Workers and Handlers
  • Expand training content [Delayed implementation]
  • Require recordkeeping of training for 2 years
  • Provide worker or handler a copy training records upon request by Worker or Hander (Written or Oral) or Designated Representative. (Designated Representative request must be made in writing.)
    • What is on the training records
      • The Worker’s or Handler’s Printed Name and Signature
      • The date of Training
      • Trainers Name
      • Evidence of Trainer’s Qualification to Train
      • Employer’s Name
      • Information on what EPA training materials were used
    • Train-the-trainer programs must be approved by EPA and are available on line.
    • All resources available – Pesticide Education Resource Collaborative
      • Who can train?
        • Private or commercial pesticide applicators or someone who has gone through the EPA Approved Train the Trainer program

2-Revisions: Notifications


  • Oral or posted notification of outdoor treated areas unless labeling requires both
  • Workers entering when restricted-entry interval (REI) in effect (early-entry workers) must receive PPE


  • Post outdoor treated areas when REI is greater than 48 hours
  • Early-entry workers must be provided PPE & oral notification of:
    • information about the pesticide application
    • specific task to be performed
    • amount of time that the worker is allowed to remain in the treated area
    • the PPE required by the label

3-Revisions: Hazard Communications


  • Post application-specific information at central display area until 30 days after REI expires
  • Available to worker or handler only during display period


  • Hazard information includes the application-specific information including spray records and the pesticide safety data sheets (SDSs)
    • Hazard information (Spray Records) Includes
  • Name of the pesticide applied,
  • Active ingredient,
  • EPA registration number,
  • REI,
  • Crop or site treated,
  • Location and description of the treated area(s),
  • Date(s) and times application started and ended, and
  • Safety Data Sheet of the pesticide applied.
  • Must be posted within 24 hours of the application or prior to worker entry


  • Hazard Information (Spray records and Safety Data Sheets) must be kept at a central display area for 30 days after REI expires and must be retained for 2 years after the REI ends in a filing area.
  • Access available from display period through retention to:
    • Employee (upon oral or written request)
    • Treating medical personnel and persons working under their supervision (oral or written request)
    • Designated representative (written request only)

4-Revisions: Pesticide Safety Information


  • Safety poster displayed at central location
  • Emergency Medical Facility


  • Safety information displayed at central location and permanent decontamination sites and any decontamination site used by 11 or more workers at one time

Additional information required on display – NCDA&CS, 2019 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607, (919) 733-3556

Revisions: Minimum Age for Handlers and Early-Entry Workers


  • No minimum age


  • Requires a minimum age of 18 for pesticide handlers and early entry workers
    • Members of owner’s immediate family are exempt from this requirement
    • No minimum age in WPS for workers entering field after REI expires

5-Revisions: Respirators


  • Employers must provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required by labeling & ensure respirator fits correctly


  • If required by label (including filtering face pieces) – fit test, medical evaluation, training
  • The handler employer must keep records of the medical determinations (proof of

medical evaluations), fit testing and respirator training for 2 years from the date


6-Revisions: Application Exclusion Zones (AEZ) in Outdoor Production


  • During pesticide applications, workers and others are prohibited from being in:
    • The treated area – for farms and forests
    • The treated area and areas adjacent to treated areas (entry-restricted areas) – for nurseries


  • Establishes application exclusion zones (AEZ) based on distance from the application equipment for farms, forests, and nurseries
  • Agricultural employers must keep workers and other persons out of the treated area & AEZ that are WITHIN the boundary of the establishment owner’s property
  • Handler must suspend application if persons are in AEZ. Requirement to suspend application is NOT limited by the boundary of the establishment owner’s property                                                                          [Delayed implementation]

Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ):

The WPS establishes AEZ distances in outdoor production of 25 or 100 feet around the application equipment based on application method.

  • 100 foot AEZ
    • Applied aerially, by air blast or with a spray quality smaller than medium
    • Applied as a fumigant, smoke, mist or fog
  • 25 foot AEZ
    • Applied other than above & sprayed from a height of >12 inches from planting medium with spray quality of medium or larger
  • No AEZ
    • Applied otherwise

Things that can affect AEZ

Droplet Size, Wind, and type of equipment


Simple rule of thumb, pause your application until you can be sure that no one will be contacted by application, homeowners, kids, workers or handlers, and be a good neighbor.

7-Revisions: Decontamination Supplies


  • Employers must provide “sufficient amount of water so that the workers/handlers may wash thoroughly”


  • Provide 1 gallon of water for each worker and 3 gallons for each handler and each early-entry worker


  • If handler is using a product that requires eye protection, one pint of water must be immediately available to each handler


  • If handler is mixing/loading a product that requires eye protection, eyeflush water must be immediately available at the mix/load site for handler eye flushing.
  • If applicator is using a product that requires eye protection, one pint of water must be immediately available to each applicator.

One system per mix/load site (not based on number of handlers)

  • Immediately available to handler
  • Eye-flush must be:
    • System capable of delivering gently running water at 0.4 gal/min for at least 15 min OR
    • At least 6 gallons of water in containers suitable for providing a gentle eye-flush for about 15 min

8-Revisions: Emergency Assistance


  • Employers must provide “prompt” transportation to an emergency medical facility for workers or handlers who may have been exposed to pesticides
  • Upon request, employers must provide certain information, if available, to the exposed person or medical personnel


  • Retain “prompt” for provision of transportation
  • Require employers to provide for each product the SDS and specific information about the product, as well as the circumstances of the application and exposure, to treating medical personnel

Revised/New WPS Definitions

  • Immediate family: expanded from spouse, parents, stepparents, foster parents, children, stepchildren, foster children, brothers, and sisters to now also include all in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins.
  • Enclosed space production: production that is indoors or in a structure or space that is covered in whole or in part by any nonporous covering and that is large enough to permit a person to enter.
  • Employ: to obtain, directly or through a labor contractor, the services of a person in exchange for a salary or wages, including piece-rate wages, without regard to who may pay or who may receive the salary or wages. It includes obtaining the services of a self-employed person, an independent contractor, or a person compensated by a third party, except that it does not include an agricultural employer obtaining the services of a handler through a commercial pesticide handler employer or a commercial pesticide handling establishment. Previously, there was no definition of “employ,” although some aspects of employment were covered in the terms, “agricultural employer” and “handler employer.”

Written By

Photo of Tim BrittonTim BrittonExtension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops (919) 989-5380 tim_britton@ncsu.eduJohnston County, North Carolina
Posted on Jan 3, 2017
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