Worker Protection Standard: Changes to Gloves RestrictionsIn a notice published in the Federal Register (6 pp, 101K, about PDF) on September 1, 2004, EPA revised the Worker Protection Standard glove requirements. The first change is to allow workers to wear disposable liners beneath their chemical-resistant gloves. The second change is to eliminate the requirement that aerial applicators wear chemical-resistant gloves when entering and exiting aircraft that have been used to apply pesticides. The revised requirement become effective on November 1, 2004.
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) includes workers performing hand labor activities in fields treated with pesticides, workers in or on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses where pesticides are used, and pesticide handlers who mix, load, apply or otherwise handle pesticides.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA establishes standards for protecting pesticide applicators and farm workers from exposure. The WPS defines and sets minimal standards for the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use when handling pesticides. These standards must be displayed on the pesticide labels. Under the WPS, chemical-resistant gloves are required in several circumstances, such as mixing, loading and applying pesticides, and when workers re-enter pesticide-treated areas during the restricted-entry interval (REI).
In 1995, EPA received several requests from growers to allow workers to wear separable glove liners beneath their chemical-resistant gloves. EPA also received requests from agricultural pilots to consider eliminating the requirement that pilots wear chemical-resistant gloves when entering and exiting aircraft used to apply pesticides. In 1997, EPA proposed and has now made final revisions to the WPS glove requirements.
Summary of Revisions
All agricultural workers (field workers and pesticide handlers) are permitted to wear separable glove liners beneath chemical-resistant gloves.
- Workers may choose when to wear separable liners.
- Separable gove liners are defined as separate glove-like hand coverings made of lightweight material, with or without fingers.
- Flocked gloves continue to be prohibited by the WPS.
- The liners may not be longer than the chemical-resistant glove so that they do not extend outside of the glove.
- The liners must be disposed of after 10 hours of use, or at the end of a 24 hours period, whichever comes first.
- Agricultural pilots may choose to wear chemical-resistant gloves when entering or exiting aircraft, unless directed otherwise on the pesticide labeling.
For more information, contact:
Office of Pesticide Programs
Communication Services Branch (7506C)
401 M Street SW
Washington, DC 20460