Thursday, August 14, 2014
Comments on EPA Worker Protection Standard Changes
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently updating the Federal Worker Protection Standards (WPS) in regards to pesticides and it's important that they hear from you.
Comments on the proposed changes are due next Monday, August 18.
You can submit your comments and find more information about the proposed changes HERE.
Proposed changes include:
- Changing the WPS training requirement from every 5 years to every year.
- Expansion of restricted areas around applications
- Strengthening of notification requirements
- Many others
Important points to remember in your comments:
- We all agree that protecting workers who operate with and around pesticides is important, but some of the proposed changes create a burden that greatly outweighs the benefits.
- Reducing the training interval from 5 years to 1 fails to recognize the workers' existing experience and previous training, the nature of the duties of the workers and whether changes in duties have occurred since the last training. A good alternative would be to have periodic in-depth training supplemented by more frequent "refresher" training.
- Expanding re-entry intervals (REI) and areas could have unintended consequences for some operations. For example if farmworker housing is near a field, the REI could keep workers out of their homes unnecessarily.
- ODA has the plant scientists expertise to determine if additional Oregon specific regulations are needed.
- In the past, oral notification to workers has been sufficient for most applications, with written notification being a supplement. The proposed changes would up the standard in many situations to require written notification and sign posting. The timeline surrounding the sign posting would be particularly onerous as applications often change based on weather or other conditions and posting is not allowed more than 24hrs in advance.
If you have any questions please call Paulette or Scott at (503) 370-8092
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