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Pesticide Worker Safety

Notice to Workers About Pesticide Applications and Pesticide-Treated Areas

Under most circumstances, employers must notify workers about areas where pesticide applications are taking place or where restricted-entry intervals (REIs) are in effect.

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Both Oral Warnings and Posted Signs May be Required

Some pesticide labels require the employer to notify workers both orally and with signs posted at entrances to the treated area. If both types of notification are required, the following statement will be in the “Directions for Use” section of the pesticide labeling under the heading "Agricultural Use Requirements:"

Notify workers of the application by warning them orally and by posting warning signs at entrances to treated areas.

Notification Requirement

On farms, forests, and nurseries, employers must notify workers either orally or by the posting of warning signs at entrances to treated areas unless the pesticide labeling requires both types of notification. The employer must inform workers which method of notification is being used.

In greenhouses, employers must post all treated areas, except as described below. If the pesticide labeling requires both types of notification, the employer must also notify workers orally.

Exceptions to Worker Notification

Oral warnings need not be given to any worker and posting a pesticide-treated area is not required if:

  • No workers on the farm, forest, or nursery will be in the treated area, or will walk within ¼ mile of the treated area, during the pesticide application or while the REI is in effect.
  • No workers will be in the greenhouse during the pesticide application or while the REI is in effect there.
  • The only workers for whom notification would be required applied the pesticide (or supervised its application) and are aware of all of the application and REI.

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Oral Warnings to Workers

Oral warnings must be provided to workers in a manner they can understand and must include:

  • The location and description of the treated area.
  • The time during which entry is restricted.
  • Instructions not to enter the treated area until the REI has expired.

Workers who are on the agricultural establishment at the start of an application must be orally warned before the application takes place.

Workers who are not on the agricultural establishment at the start of an application must be orally warned at the beginning of their first work period if the application is still taking place or the REI is in effect.

Posted Warning Signs

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Use signs that comply with the Worker Protection Standard to post warnings at entrances to treated areas.

On farms, forests, and nurseries, an employer must post the signs so they can be seen from all points where workers usually enter the pesticide-treated area, including at least:

  • Each access road.
  • Each border with any labor camp adjacent to the pesticide-treated area.
  • Each established walking route that enters the pesticide-treated area.

In greenhouses, post the signs so they can be seen from all points where workers usually enter the pesticide-treated area, including doorways, aisles, and other walking routes.

When there are no usual points of worker entry to the pesticide-treated area, an employer must post the signs in the corners of the pesticide-treated area or in places where they will be most easily seen.

Regarding the timing and visibility of warning signs, a worker employer must:

  • Post signs 24 hours or less before the scheduled pesticide application.
  • Keep signs posted during application and throughout the REI (if any).
  • Remove signs within three days after the end of the REI or within three days of the application if there is no REI.
  • Keep workers out during the entire time the signs are posted, except for trained and equipped early-entry workers entering as permitted under WPS.
  • Keep signs visible and legible while they are posted.

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Warning Signs in Other Languages

The following signs are provided to assist agricultural employers with preparing warning signs in other languages. All warning signs must be visible, legible, and in the required format.

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