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Revisions in EPA WPS comment period open until Dec. 23, 2015

Deborah Breth, Integrated Pest Management
Lake Ontario Fruit Program

November 13, 2015

Posted in Federal Register: A Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency on 11/02/2015

What are the major changes from the proposal to the final rule?
This final rule revises the existing WPS. Some significant changes are described in this Unit. Units V. through XIX. discuss in more detail the proposed rule, public comments submitted, EPA's responses to the public comments, and final regulatory requirements.

In regard to training, the final rule retains the proposed content expansions (including how to protect family members and reduce take-home exposure) and the requirement for employers to ensure that workers and handlers receive pesticide safety training every year. Employers are required to retain records of the training provided to workers and handlers for two years from the date of training. The final rule eliminates the training "grace period," which allowed employers to delay providing full pesticide safety training to workers (for up to 5 days under the existing rule and for up to two days under the proposal) from the time worker activities began, if the workers received an abbreviated training prior to entering any treated area.

In regard to notification, the final rule retains the proposed requirements for employers to post warning signs around treated areas in outdoor production when the product used has a restricted-entry interval (REI) greater than 48 hours and to provide to workers performing early-entry tasks, i.e., entering a treated area when an REI is in effect, information about the pesticide used in the area where they will work, the specific task(s) to be performed, the personal protective equipment (PPE) required by the labeling and the amount of time the worker may remain in the treated area. The final rule does not include the proposed requirement for employers to keep a record of the information provided to workers performing early-entry tasks. The final rule retains the existing requirements concerning the sign that must be used when posted notification of treated areas is required.

In regard to hazard communication, the final rule requires employers to post pesticide application information and a safety data sheet (SDS) for each pesticide used on the establishment (known together as pesticide application and hazard information) at a central location on the establishment (the "central display"), a departure from the proposal to eliminate the existing requirement for a central display of pesticide application-specific information. The final rule also requires the employer to maintain and make available to workers and handlers, their designated representatives, and treating medical personnel upon request, the pesticide application-specific information and the SDSs for pesticides used on the establishment for two years. The final rule does not include the proposed requirement for the employer to maintain copies of the labeling for each product used on the establishment for two years.
In regard to protections during pesticide applications, the final rule designates the area immediately surrounding the application equipment as the area from which workers and other persons must be excluded (an area up to 100 feet around the application equipment). This "application exclusion zone" differs from the proposed "entry-restricted areas," which would have extended a specified distance around the entire treated area during application based on the application equipment used. The final rule requires handlers to suspend application, rather than cease application, if they are aware of any person in the application exclusion zone other than a properly trained and equipped handler involved in the application.

In regard to establishing a minimum age for handlers and workers performing early-entry tasks, the final rule requires that handlers and workers performing early-entry tasks be at least 18 years old, rather than the proposed minimum age of 16 years old. This minimum age does not apply to an adolescent working on an establishment owned by an immediate family member. The final rule does not require the employer to record workers' or handlers' birthdates as part of the training record, but does require the employer to verify they meet the minimum age requirements.

In regard to PPE, the final rule cross-references certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirements for respirator use that employers will be required to comply with, i.e., fit test, medical evaluation, and training for handlers using pesticides that require respirator use. The final rule expands the respirators subject to fit testing beyond the proposal to include filtering facepiece respirators. The final rule maintains the existing exception from the handler PPE requirements when using a closed system to transfer or load pesticides, and adopts a general performance standard for closed systems, which differs from the specific design standards based on California's existing standard for closed systems discussed in the proposal.

January 4, 2017 is the date when employers must comply with the provisions of the WPS with the exception of the new training content and the implementation of the new exclusion zone requirement.
January 4, 2018 (or 180 days after EPA announces the training materials are available, whichever is later) is when the new training curriculum must be implemented.
January 4, 2018 is when the exclusion zone requirements come into force.

EPA has received and considered a number of requests to extend the public comment period on the proposed changes to the certification of pesticide applicators rule.
EPA will grant a 30-day extension to the public comment period on the proposed changes to the certification rule. Comments must be submitted no later than December 23, 2015. Comments can be submitted via www.regulations.gov under docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183.
A formal announcement of the 30-day extension to the comment period will be published in the Federal Register shortly.





EPA WPS Comparison of Revisions to Current Standard (pdf; 583KB)

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New Weed Management Technology Survey

Want to move away from herbicide reliance? Are you using novel technologies to manage weeds? We want to know about it to inform our weed science research. A team of weed scientists from University of California Davis, Oregon State University, and Cornell University are asking berry, tree fruit, tree nut, and vine crop growers to take 5 to 10 minutes and answer this short and anonymous survey. Weed Technology Survey link: https://cornell.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bEpfAijoP7puQDP

For more information on this survey please visit http://blogs.cornell.edu/swd1/2020/12/02/new-weed-management-technology/


Pollinator Webinar Series - Summer 2020

The Pollinator Webinar Series presented by Penn State cover bee health and pollination services.



Bloom Pesticides for Pollinator Health

A reference table created by Janet van Zoeren and Anna Wallis, is now available at https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=711&crumb=pests|pests.

Pollinator Resouces

Now available Pollinator Resource Links


Article: "Supplemental Coverage Option for Apples"

Supplemental Coverage Option for Apples - Should you add this endorsement to your apple crop insurance policy?

Elizabeth Higgins, Ag Business Management Specialist, ENYCH


For the full article click the link below.

https://lof.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=604




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