Dec 27, 2017
Washington state adopts pesticide safety rules in new year

New rules for using pesticides, modeled after federal worker protection standards, will take effect in Washington on Jan. 13. Washing State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Director Derek Sandison signed the rules in December. They will bring state regulations in line with rules that are being phased in by the Environmental Protection Agency. The regulations cover such subjects as training applicators, posting safety information, decontaminating workers and providing medical care.

EPA adopted new standards in 2015. Most went into effect in 2016, while more are scheduled to take effect in 2018. States can adopt more stringent standards, but must at least meet federal rules. In some ways, the new EPA rules will bring the federal standards to those already followed in Washington, according to WSDA. The state and federal rules will now be essentially identical, according to the department. WSDA said it will work with growers to understand the new rules and won’t enforce them until EPA-approved training materials are available.

The new requirements include:

  • Workers must undergo annual training in handling pesticides. Previously, training was required every five years. Also, employers must keep training records for two years.
  • Information about pesticide safety and current applications must be posted for workers to see. The rules provide specific instructions on what must be posted, and when and where.
  •  Employers must keep everyone except trained workers out of the area while pesticides are applied. The areas range from 100 feet to 25 feet depending on the type of equipment used to spray the pesticide

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