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Pesticide Worker Safety

Requirements under the Worker Protection Standard for Owners of Agricultural Establishments and Immediate Family

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Owners of agricultural establishments and members of their immediate family are exempt from many worker protection standard (WPS) requirements on establishments that are majority-owned by immediate family members. Immediate family includes:

  • spouse; 
  • children; stepchildren; foster children;
  • sons-in law; daughters-in law;
  • parents; stepparents; foster parents;
  • father-in-law; mother-in-law;
  • brothers;  sisters;
  • brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law;
  • grandparents;
  • grandchildren;
  • aunts; uncles; nieces; nephews; and first cousins.

Which WPS requirements apply to owners of agricultural establishments?

Owners of agricultural establishments and members of their immediate family must comply with the following requirements:

  • Employer information exchange.
  • Restrictions during handling tasks:
    • Use the personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing listed on the pesticide labeling for the task being performed.
    • Handlers may omit some of the required PPE if they are using a closed system, in an enclosed cab or in a cockpit.
  • Provide medical evaluation, fit test and respirator training to handlers required to wear a respirator by a pesticide label.
  • Restrictions during applications -- make sure that:
    • Each pesticide is applied so that it does not contact people (except appropriately trained and equipped handlers) either directly or through drift.
    • People (except appropriately trained and equipped handlers) are kept out of areas:
      • Being treated with pesticides.
      • Near the application equipment (the application exclusion zone).
    • Handlers suspend applications if people (except appropriately trained and equipped handlers) are near the application equipment (in the application exclusion zone).
  • Restrictions during restricted-entry intervals:

Which WPS requirements DO NOT apply to owners of agricultural establishments?

Agricultural owners are not required to provide themselves or members of their immediate family with the following protections of the WPS:

  • Display information at a central location.
  • Keep records of pesticide applications and safety data sheets.
  • Minimum age for handlers and early-entry workers.
  • Pesticide safety training.
  • Decontamination supplies.
  • Emergency assistance.
  • Notice about applications.
  • Monitoring handlers.
  • Specific handling instructions.
  • Equipment safety.
  • All the specific duties related to the care of PPE and management of its use.
  • The following duties related to early entry:
    • training and instructions;
    • decontamination supplies; and
    • specific duties related to the care of PPE and management of its use.

NOTE: Agricultural owners must provide all applicable WPS protections to any worker and handler employees on their establishment that are not immediate family members.

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