Exception for Irrigation Activities under the Current WPS
On May 3, 1995, EPA completed an exception to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) that would allow, under specified conditions, workers to enter pesticide treated areas during a restricted entry interval (REI) to perform irrigation tasks.
This exception allows workers the flexibility during an REI to perform irrigation tasks that could not have been foreseen and which, if delayed, would cause significant economic loss. At the same time, the exception includes significant provisions to limit pesticide exposure and risk to employees performing irrigation tasks.
The conditions of the exception for early entry irrigation activities are:
- The workers' contact with treated surfaces is minimal and is limited to the feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms,
- The pesticide product does not have a statement in the labeling requiring double notification (workers must be notified both verbally and by posting of these high toxicity pesticides),
- Personal protective equipment for early entry is provided to the worker and must either conform with the label requirements or include at least coveralls, chemical resistant gloves, socks, chemical resistant footwear, and eyewear (if eyewear is required by the product labeling),
- No hand labor activity (such as hoeing, picking, or pruning) is performed,
- The time in treated areas under a REI for any worker may not exceed 8 hours in a 24 hour period, The workers do not enter the area during the first 4 hours, and until applicable ventilation criteria have been met, and until any label specified inhalation exposure level has been reached, and
- Before workers enter a treated area under an REI, the agricultural employer shall give them oral or written notification of the specifics of the exception to early entry. The notification must be in a language that the workers understand.
To read more, see the May 3, 1995 Federal Register notice.