Worker protection training mandatory

LISBON, Ohio – Farms, nurseries and greenhouses must be sure their handlers are up-to-date with Worker Protection Standards training.

Worker Protection Standards were established five years ago for agricultural pesticides. Handlers and workers must have training when they first begin their job, then at least once every five years. The training includes pesticide handling and safety, emergency procedures and preventing pesticide exposure.

Handlers do not need to be trained if they are already licensed applicators. Workers in fields, greenhouses, or other areas where pesticides are used need the training. Special additional training needs to be given to “early entry” employees.

Safety first.

Workers must receive worker protection training before they accumulate five days of entry into a pesticide-treated area and at least once every five years.

Handlers must be trained before they do any pesticide handling task.

The training covers such topics as appropriate clothes to wear, personal hygiene and understanding posted pesticide signs. Other topics include the health of the worker’s family such as never taking pesticides home, showering immediately after work and laundering work clothes separately.

WPS training also includes recognizing signs of pesticide

poisoning and emergency procedures.

Ohio Department of Agriculture inspectors can request Worker Protection Standards records for workers at any time.

The training can be done by a licensed pesticide applicator or someone trained for specific instruction.

Extension materials.

The Ohio State University Extension pesticide education program has some videos available for loan to help with worker protection training. Some of the videos are bilingual, so both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences will understand the material.

Extension offices also have WPS manuals to help with the training. Manuals, posters, videos and other materials are available for purchase at Gemplers (www.gemplers.com) or EPA (www.epa.gov/).

A helpful resource is OSU Extension Bulletin 843, “The WPS for Agricultural Pesticides – How to comply and What Employers Need to Know.” This publication is available on the EPA Web site at the above address and at county extension offices.

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