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National Assessment of the Pesticide Worker Safety Program

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Pesticide worker safety continues to be one of OPP’s highest priorities. In FY 2003, as part of a commitment to improve its pesticide worker safety program, OPP completed a national assessment of the pesticide worker safety program to review the implementation and enforcement of the pesticide applicator certification and worker protection regulations and field activities, as well as ways to make these activities more effective. The worker protection assessment had three major components: 1) public workshops to discuss the worker protection program, identify the program's strengths and weaknesses, and foster an exchange of ideas for improving the implementation of the program; 2) the establishment of three workgroups to further examine key program issues; and 3) a worker protection enforcement program element review (initiated by EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance and done in conjunction with OPP) to assess the combined effectiveness of the EPA and state compliance monitoring and enforcement efforts. The assessment of the pesticide applicator certification regulation and training programs was carried out by the Certification and Training Assessment Group (CTAG) through several focused workgroup sessions with participation with a wide array of stakeholders. An extensive report entitled "Pesticide Safety in the 21st Century" was issued based on the collective efforts of CTAG and other stakeholders.

The National Assessment of the Pesticide Worker Safety Program brought together a wide variety of program stakeholders who participated in assessment workshop meetings and workgroups. The workgroups focused on general training issues, a national pesticide safety train-the-trainer pilot, and a hazard communication pilot and issues with the pesticide applicator cetification regulation and training program. More detailed information on the public workshops held in Texas, California, and Florida and the final reports for the general training issues and train-the-trainer workgroups are available at the bottom of this page. Further information on CTAG's activities is available on its website: http://pep.wsu.edu/ctag. Exit EPA disclaimer Additionally, EPA headquarters, Regional and state pesticide lead agency staff conducted an enforcement program element review in every EPA region. The assessment process generated numerous recommendations for program improvement. The following program areas were identified as priorities for focus and further follow-up: program outreach and communication, agricultural worker protection training, agricultural worker protection and label regulations, incident monitoring and health care, hazard communication, general program issues, compliance and enforcement, providing quality training programs, improving applicator competency, ensuring adequate and equitable program funding, and improving program operation and efficiency.

In response to the pesticide worker safety assessment, EPA implemented several changes to improve national consistency and program implementation in the short term. EPA has worked closely with its regulatory partners to develop better program guidance and to improve communications and reporting. Also, the Agency focused on providing additional training opportunities for state compliance monitoring and enforcement staff to improve national program consistency. Several other activities are underway and additional follow-up activities are planned. EPA has generated a report on the national assessment of the pesticide worker safety program, which addresses a range of stakeholder suffested improvements, but does not include the findings from the enforcement program element review. The report will focus on the program issues identified during the assessment, the response to stakeholder suggestions, and the Agency activities completed, in progress, or planned to enhance and improve the national pesticide worker safety program.

National Assessment Workshop Reports

For more detailed information about the National Assessment Workshops, please see the reports below.

Workshop #1
Austin, Texas
June 6-7, 2000

Workshop #2
Sacramento, California
December 11-13, 2000

Workshop #3
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
July 30-August 1, 2001

Workshop #4
Agricultural Worker Protection Program National Assessment & Pesticide Worker Safety Workshop Arlington, Virginia

Report on the National Assessment of the Pesticide Worker Safety Program (69 pages, 1.37MB, PDF)



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