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Worker Protection Standard: Agricultural Owner FAQs | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Worker Protection Standard: Agricultural Owner FAQs

What is an Agricultural Owner?

An Agricultural Owner is anyone that has current possessorory interest in an agricultural establishment. Generally speaking if you are the owner of a farm or ranch or manage land that you lease, rent, or own for agricultural purposes you are an Agricultural Owner.

Am I Exempt from the Worker Protection Standard as an Agricultural Owner?

Agricultural Owners and their immediate families are exempt from certain provisions of the Worker Protection Standard. The immediate family of an agricultural owner includes spouses, children, stepchildren, foster children, parents, stepparents, brothers and sisters. Under the Worker Protection Standard, agricultural owners are not required to provide themselves or their immediate family with the following protections. However, if you employ persons outside of your immediate family you must provide these protections to those individuals:

  • Information at a central location regarding:
    • Location where a pesticide is or will be applied
    • What product is or will be applied
    • When the pesticide will be applied (time and date)
    • Emergency assistance information
    • Pesticide Safety Poster
  • Pesticide Safety Training
    • Training conducted by the employer regarding Worker Protection.
  • Decontamination Sites
    • Decontamination sites are areas that have the necessary facilities to remove pesticides from your person after completing routine tasks or in the case of an emergency. Although agricultural owners are exempt from providing this safety measure to themselves or immediate family, it is a sound practice to have a decontamination site.
  • Decontamination sites should include:
    • Soap and water for washing. Running water is preferable but if it is not possible, at least enough to wash and rinse hands and face.
    • Change of clothes. A “one size fits all” coverall is suggested as this will suffice in the situation where someone may have gotten an excessive amount of pesticide in their clothes and must remove their clothes to avoid exposure.
    • Eye-Wash. There are many different types of eyewash devices available either portable or stationary. Choose an eyewash device that best suits the situation and practices of the operation.
  • Emergency Assistance
    • Providing emergency assistance is simply providing transportation to a medical facility or contacting an emergency vehicle to the scene. It is likely that this is available in most situations.
  • Notice about Applications
    • In general this provision requires that notice of pesticide applications be given to all workers orally or by posting a warning sign or both depending on the product label. Although agricultural owners and their immediate families are exempt from this requirement, it is required to observe the “Restricted-Entry Interval” stated on the product label.
  • Monitoring Handlers
    • This section of the worker protection standard requires that someone check on the person that is handling or applying a pesticide that carries a skull and crossbones symbol on the product label every two (2) hours. Although agricultural owners and their immediate families are exempt from this requirement, it is a recommended practice.
  • Specific Handling Instructions
    • This provision of the worker protection standard requires that all pesticide handlers (and applicators) are provided with the product labeling and are instructed in the safe operation of the application equipment. Agricultural owner and their immediate families are exempt from this requirement but it should be noted that anyone who handles or applies a pesticide must follow product label instructions.
  • Equipment Safety
    • Equipment safety refers to maintaining application equipment and providing the person that is performing maintenance work with appropriate protection. Although agricultural owners are exempt from this requirement of the worker protection standard, similar activities are required as part of the Pesticide Handling & Discharge Response Procedure and Plan .
  • Duties Related to the Care and Use of Personal Protection Equipment
    • Agricultural owners and their immediate families are exempt from the requirements listed in the worker protection standard regarding personal protective equipment. However, it is required that anyone who uses a pesticide use personal protective equipment required by the product label.

Although federal regulation provides for certain exemptions, similar activities are required under state law. If you are an agricultural owner you are required to develop and maintain a Pesticide Handling and Discharge Response Procedure and Plan for private applicators. More information can be obtained at Pesticide Handling and Discharge Response Procedure and Plan.

What Protections Am I Required to Provide as an Agricultural Owner?

Agricultural owners and there immediate families are required by federal law to comply with certain sections of the Worker Protection Standard. These sections are required to provided protection to these individuals to avoid exposure to pesticides that may lead to health problems. The sections of the Worker Protection Standard that are required for Agricultural Owners and their immediate families include:

  • Employer Information Exchange
    • The owner or operator of the farm must inform any commercial handler or crop advisor that an area has been treated. Similarly, a commercial handler must provide their customers with certain information. The information that must be conveyed between these individuals includes:
      • Location and description of the area treated.
      • Time and data the pesticide is to be or was applied.
      • Product name, EPA Registration number, and active ingredient.
      • Restricted-entry interval for the pesticide
      • Whether or not the product requires both treated-area posting and oral notification.
      • Any other specific requirements required by the product labeling concerning the protection of individuals working on the farm or ranch.
  • Restrictions During Handling Tasks
    • Agricultural owners and their immediate families are required to use personal protective equipment and other work attire listed on the product labeling specific to the task performed.
  • Restrictions During Applications
    • Apply pesticides so that it does not contact (by drift or any other manner) anyone except those that are appropriately equipped.
    • Insure that you and your family are appropriately trained, informed, and equipped handlers and applicators.
    • Insure that you and you family are kept out of areas treated to avoid exposure.
  • Restrictions During Restricted-Entry Intervals
    • Restricted-Entry Intervals are stated on the product label and refer to the amount of time that must pass between the application and the time that you may safely enter the treated area. It should be noted that if two (2) or more pesticides are applied in the same location that the longer restricted-entry interval must be observed.
    • Early entry into the treated area is allowable if it is for a short time, agricultural emergency, or a specially excepted early entry. Specially excepted early entry requires that:
      • Agricultural Owners and their families wait at least 4 hours after application before entering the area and wait at least until any inhalation exposure level listed on the product labeling has been reached or any ventilation criteria has been met.
      • If short-term task are being performed, restrict the time to 1 hour in 24 hours that you or someone else is in the area treated.
      • Wear personal protective equipment stated on the product labeling.
      • Follow any other restrictions stated on the product labeling.

Why is it Necessary to Comply With the Worker Protection Standard as an Agricultural Owner?

Agricultural Owners (and their immediate families) are exempt from many sections of the Worker Protection Standard regulations, federal law requires that some sections must be followed. Although federal law requires compliance, the Worker Protection Standard affords protection to individuals from exposure to pesticides that could cause acute or chronic health effects. Anyone that handles pesticides should take precautions to protect themselves from exposure that could lead to adverse health effects or death. Following precautions stated on the product labeling and those outlined in the worker protection standard can reduce the risk associated with handling pesticides.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129
P: 800.227.8917 F: 303.312.6044