Pesticides are an important tool for keeping our farms, homes, and workplaces free from pests which can destroy crops and spread illness to livestock or humans. However, pesticides can also pose a risk to humans when proper steps are not taken to limit exposure.
Although individuals may be exposed to pesticides in many different environments, agricultural workers are at heightened risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal agency which regulates pesticides that may impact the environment or public health, between 1,800 and 3,000 preventable occupational incidents involving pesticide exposure occur on agricultural establishments each year.
The EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requires employers of field workers and pesticide handlers in agricultural settings to provide training and supplies, and to display an informational pesticide safety poster following pesticide use. In 2015, EPA revised the WPS posting requirements with new specifications for pesticide safety posters, although the new rule did not go into effect until 2018. Employers should be advised to update these mandatory posters prior to allowing workers on the establishment after the use of a pesticide.
Federal Pesticide Safety Posters
Under the old WPS standard, agricultural employers were required to post specific pesticide safety information at a central location if agricultural workers or pesticide handlers were on the establishment and a pesticide product had been used, or a restricted entry-level interval for pesticide had been in effect, within the past 30 days. As of January 2, 2018, employers are also required to post the pesticide safety information at permanent decontamination sites and locations where there are decontamination supplies for 11 or more workers or handlers.
The WPS revisions also expanded the scope of information which must be supplied by pesticide safety information posters. CPC has updated the Agriculture Pesticide Safety Poster with the following additions to remain compliant with federal EPA requirements:
- New fill-in section for the name, address, and telephone number of the State or Tribal pesticide regulatory agency for the posted region.
- The employer must fill in this section of the poster to remain in compliance.
- The fill-in section for emergency medical care now specifies that the name, address, and telephone number of the medical facility must be supplied.
- The employer must fill in this section of the poster to remain in compliance, and update this section within 24 hours of changes to the medical care provider.
- The emergency medical care facility must be nearby the posted location, as emergency medical care must be accessible to employees.
- The Safety Tips / First Aid section includes these new instructions to employees:
- Avoid getting on the skin or into the body any pesticides that may be on tractors and other equipment or on used personal protective equipment.
- If pesticides are spilled or sprayed on the body, use decontamination supplies to wash immediately, or rinse off in the nearest clean water, including springs, streams, lakes or other sources if more readily available than decontamination supplies.
- Follow directions about keeping out of application exclusion zones.
- Employees should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they believe they have been poisoned, injured, or made ill by pesticides.
CPC’s Agriculture Pesticide Safety Poster can also be a valuable training tool. Along with EPA-mandated pesticide safety information, the Agriculture Pesticide Safety Poster provides basic information about hazard communication, including pesticide labels and signal words for pesticide dangers. To order your updated Agriculture Pesticide Safety Information Poster, click here.
Pesticide Safety Posters for California
The Agriculture Pesticide Safety Poster is compliant with federal standards that apply to most agricultural employers across the U.S., but employers in California are covered by the state version of the Worker Protection Standard which covers both agricultural and non-agricultural workers. Changes to the California WPS training and posting requirements came into effect on March 2, 2018.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation requires employers whose workers may be exposed to pesticides to post pesticide safety materials published by DPR. It also has separate posting requirements for employees working in treated fields, pesticide handlers in agricultural settings, and pesticide handlers in non-agricultural settings. CPC has created the California Pesticide Safety Poster series for employer convenience:
- The Pesticide Safety For Farmworkers Poster must be posted whenever employees are working as fieldworkers in a field that has been treated with pesticide or has had a restricted entry interval or entry restricted period in effect within the past 30 days.
- The Pesticide Safety for Pesticide Handlers on Farms Poster must be posted before any employee is allowed to handle pesticides in an agricultural setting.
- The Pesticide Safety for Non-Agricultural Pesticide Handlers Poster must be posted before any employee is allowed to handle pesticides in a non-agricultural setting.
The applicable poster must be displayed in a central location at the worksite, at permanent decontamination sites, and at locations where there are decontamination supplies for 11 or more workers or handlers.
Because these notices must be posted in multiple locations, we also supply the pesticide safety notices for agricultural workers on the California Agriculture Safety Poster to allow agricultural employers to fulfill other posting obligations while saving space. The California Agriculture Safety Poster compiles state and federal mandatory-to-post and mandatory-to-communicate notices for agricultural employers and farm labor contractors in California, including mandatory pay statements, federal minimum wage information, and CAL-OSHA requirements for hazard communication.
The California Agriculture Mobile Poster Pak™ Add-On is also available for employees at mobile workplaces.
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