Decontamination and Emergency Assistance
When accidents happen, it’s crucial that workers and handlers have the information and resources to act quickly. EPA is proposing several changes to the WPS to improve the ability of workers and handlers to take action in the event of accidental exposure.
Read the details of the proposed changes and the rationale before you comment.
All your comments are welcome but we have specific questions for you on changes to Decontamination and Emergency Assistance:
A. Clarify the Quantity of Water Required for Decontamination.
- Is 1 gallon for routine washing for workers and 3 gallons for handler emergency decontamination, reasonable amounts of water for workers or handlers who have been exposed to pesticides? If not, why?
- What amount of water would be reasonable, or what other alternative is there?
- Would waterless cleansing agents used in lieu of soap, water, and towels effectively remove pesticide residues from workers’ and handlers’ hands?
- Should EPA consider allowing the employer to substitute waterless cleansing agents for the currently required decontamination supplies? If so, why? Please provide data on the efficacy of waterless cleansing agents for removing pesticide residues.
B. Eliminate the Substitution of Natural Waters for Decontamination Supplies.
- Please provide information on situations, if any, in which the proposed change would significantly increase the burden on agricultural employers and offer alternative proposals.
- Please provide any information on the cost associated with the current situation and proposed change.
- Would using natural waters for decontamination worsen a worker’s or handler’s situation after pesticide exposure?
- Would it be beneficial to use any water in the event of a pesticide emergency or when decontamination supplies cannot be located within one quarter mile because of limited vehicular access?
C. Requirements for Ocular Decontamination in Case of Exposed Pesticide Handlers.
- Is it reasonable to require that clean, running water be present and flowing at a minimum of 1.5 liter (0.4 gallons) per minute for 15 minutes at permanent mixing and loading stations? If not, why?
- Should EPA consider other ways to provide ocular decontamination for handlers? If so, please provide specific details, including rationale and cost.
- Do data exist on the relative number of mixing and loading activities that occur at permanent sites and away from permanent sites?
- Are there other ways in which ocular decontamination might reasonably be improved at temporary mixing and loading sites?
D. Showers for Handler Decontamination.
- Is it reasonable to assume a significant percentage of handlers would not use a permanent shower facility at a worksite?
- Would increased handler training, clarified amounts of water for routine decontamination, and/or the use of additional PPE for handlers be sufficient to protect handlers and their families from occupational and take-home pesticide exposure? If not, why?
- Are there other preventative measures that would provide comparable protection to handlers and their families without incurring the same cost as requiring installation of shower facilities? If so, please describe the preventative measures, estimated cost, and implementation.
- What other alternatives exist?
XV. Emergency Assistance
- Is 30 minutes a reasonable timeframe for an agricultural employer or commercial handler employer to make transportation available to a worker or handler who has been exposed to pesticides to a medical treatment facility? If the timeframe is too long or short, please explain why. What would be a reasonable alternative?
- Do medical personnel treating a worker or handler for occupational pesticide exposure need more information than what is proposed to evaluate, diagnose, and treat the patient? If so, what additional information would be necessary?
- If time is of the essence in determining the proper course of treatment, should EPA consider requiring the agricultural employer to report the estimated time of the incident in addition to the information proposed above?