Rules Call For Yearly Training, Minimum Age For Handling Pesticides
The EPA in September announced revised regulations involving farmworker handling of pesticides. Among the changes to the regulations include yearly training for farmworkers, rather than every five years, and a minimum age requirement barring persons under 18 from handling pesticides. The EPA said between 1,800 and 3,000 accidents involving pesticide exposure happen annually. The Wall Street Journal reported that the latest revisions marked the first updates to the worker-protection standards since they were first introduced in 1992. The new protections will apply to around two million US and migrant workers at facilities across the country that use pesticides like greenhouses, farms, and forests. The changes were hailed by United Farm Workers of America president Arturo Rodriguez who said, “Today’s announcement is a dream come true.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said of the new revisions, “We will not turn our backs on the people that help feed this nation.” Some agricultural groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation expressed concerns the changes will leave growers with added regulatory costs without providing clear worker benefits. Farm Bureau spokesman Will Rodger said, “We of course support safety and training workers and reducing injuries,” but there ares concern that “the way EPA is going about it will cost more than it generates in benefits.”
What Happens Next
The majority of the rule revisions will be effective approximately 14 months after the rule publishes in the Federal Register. This will give farmers and states time to adjust to the new requirements, as well as time for EPA and states to develop updated materials for training and other purposes.
What This Means For Small Businesses
Although employers want to provide safe conditions for their workers, small businesses bear the brunt of costs resulting from increased regulations. The latest revisions will drive up the costs of doing businessfor family farms and other agricultural companies.
Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.