TDA is responsible for training and implementing the provisions of state and federal worker protection laws.
The state law is known as the Texas Agricultural Hazard Communication Law (Right-to-Know). This slide presentation explains Responsibilities for Agricultural Employers.
RTK Employee Rights
The federal law is The Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The law, published in 1992, governs the protection of employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. The Worker Protection Standard covers both workers in areas treated with pesticides, and employees who handle (mix, load, apply, etc.) pesticides.
The How to Comply Manual is available online.
Proposed Changes to WPS
EPA is proposing significant improvements to worker training regarding the safe usage of pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure. Increased training and signage will inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law and will help them protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure. The comment period has closed.
Overview of proposed changes to WPS
What Does the Current WPS Require?
The requirements in the current WPS are intended to inform workers and handlers about pesticide safety, provide protections from potential exposure to pesticides, and mitigate exposures that do occur. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/worker.htm
· Pesticide safety training — for workers and handlers,
· Access to labeling information — for pesticide handlers and early-entry workers,
· Access to specific information — for workers and handlers, which includes providing information about pesticide applications on the establishment, emergency information, and a pesticide safety poster at a central location,
· Keep workers out of areas being treated with pesticides,
· Keep workers out of areas that are under a restricted-entry interval (REI), with a few narrow exceptions,
· Protect early-entry workers who are doing permitted tasks in pesticide-treated areas during an REI, including special instructions and duties related to correct use of personal protective equipment,
· Notify workers about pesticide-treated areas so they can avoid inadvertent exposures,
· Monitor handlers using highly toxic pesticides,
· Provide required personal protective equipment to handlers,
· Decontamination supplies — a sufficient supply of water, soap, and towels for routine washing and emergency decontamination, and
· Emergency assistance — making transportation available to a medical care facility in case of a pesticide injury or poisoning, and providing information about the pesticide(s) to which the person may have been exposed.
WPS Train-the-Trainer Online Course
Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship offer an on-line WPS Train-the-Trainer course that provides agricultural employers with information that meets the WPS training requirement for agricultural workers on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses.
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has determined that the Iowa State training course meets the WPS Train-the-Trainer course requirement for Texas. Upon completion of the course, The Iowa Dept. of Agriculture will notify TDA about Texas trainers who have completed their course and the department will maintain a record of their certification as trainers. Before they do any training activities, trainers must contact the department to obtain the EPA Training Verification cards that they are required to issue to their trainees.
The on-line course, along with additional WPS resources, can be accessed at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/workerprotection/