EPA Proposes Revisions of Application Exclusion Zone Requirements for Agricultural Worker Protection Standard

On November 1, 2019, EPA published proposed revisions to the application exclusion zone (AEZ) requirements under its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.  An AEZ is defined as the area extending horizontally around application equipment.  Under the current regulations, employers are required to keep workers and other persons out of AEZs during pesticide application.  EPA originally added this requirement in its revision of WPS in 2015.  Since then, many small businesses and state agencies have expressed concerns with this requirement due to its lack of clarity and unenforceability.

In this proposal, EPA seeks to simplify and clarify the AEZ requirements. For instance, EPA proposed changes streamline the criteria and factors for determining appropriate AEZ distances for the various methods of application. Another example is EPA’s explanation regarding the specifics for when suspended applications may resume in the context of both when workers and non-workers remain within the boundaries of the establishment.  These modifications, along with others in this proposal, are intended to facilitate compliance by reducing the regulatory confusion caused by the 2015 rule.

Comments are due on January 30, 2020.

Read the proposal and submit comments here.

Advocacy contact: Tabby Waqar at (202) 205-6790 or email at tayyaba.zeb@sba.gov.

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