NEW EPA Regulations To Protect Farmworkers

NEW EPA Regulations To Protect Farmworkers

Susan Allen
Susan Allen
With The Fruit Grower Report I'm Susan Allen – Next year fruit growers will have to begin complying with a host of new EPA regulations designed to protect farm workers from any ill effects associated with handling or working near pesticides. Agri-Pulse reports that

These new regulations will afford farm workers similar health protections that are already afforded to workers in other industries. Full compliance is not required until 2018.

. The new rules apply to ag workers who perform hand-labor tasks in pesticide-treated crops, such as harvesting, thinning and pruning, and pesticide handlers - those who mix, load and apply pesticides.

? Require farm operators to train workers annually. Federal regulations had required training every five years while some states had more stringent commitments. There will no longer be a grace period for new workers. Previously, someone could be put to work and then trained within five days. "Now they will have to receive training before they perform worker or handler tasks."

? Preclude the hiring of pesticide-handling workers under the age of 18 unless they are "immediate-family" members. The immediate-family exemption has been expanded to include aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and first cousins.

? Require growers to take a "Train the Trainer" course to make sure they're covering all of the information needed to adequately prepare employees for handling, applying or being exposed to pesticide residues.

? Mandate that growers keep copies of the label from the pesticide container on hand to make sure medical personnel know what they are dealing with, in the case of an exposure incident.

And as if they don't have enough to do farmer will also be required to document compliance with the new regulations,

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