New Worker Protection Standard Means New Pesticide Use Requirements in California in 2017
In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted its Worker Protection Standards (WPS) to address worker safety concerns. California had already adopted many of these and continued to do so in the following years.
In 2014, EPA proposed revisions to the WPS, which became final in 2016, though phased-in over several years. In 2016, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) revised California’s worker protection standards to align them with new federal requirements, and will begin to enforce certain of these rules in 2017. County agricultural commissioners will be responsible for enforcement of these new requirements. County ag commissioners have indicated to FELS they expect to be working in 2017 educate agricultural employers about these new requirements.
DPR has published a resource page for agricultural employers to assist educational efforts by county agricultural commissioners in the eventual transition from education of ag employers to enforcement. You can see that page at this link; it includes a number of useful resources:
- An overview of the changes to California regulation to comply with the 2017 federal Worker Protection Standard;
- Training materials and resources for worker and handler training; and,
- An order form for free DPR videos and other training materials.
Of particular interest to agricultural employers will be new training requirements for fieldworkers and handlers; these include:
- training must be conducted in an area reasonable free from distractions;
- trainers must be present throughout the training presentation to answer questions;
- fieldworkers must be trained annually;
- records of training must be kept for two years by the employer and given to workers upon request (note that retention of training records was already required for handlers; record retention for fieldworkers is a new requirement, as is the requirement to give training records to workers upon request.)
- You can review DPR's revised training requirements at this link.
FELS Labor Management Consultants (LMCs) will continue to provide WPS-compliant training in 2017; you can get more information on worker and handler training at this link.