To prevent, or mitigate pesticide exposures, agricultural employers are required to provide supplies to workers and handlers for routine washing and emergency situations. In the sections below, you'll learn what supplies must be provided, when, where, and for how long.
Decontamination Supplies for Workers
Agricultural employers must make sure that decontamination supplies are provided to workers who are working in a pesticide-treated area. This applies to areas where a WPS-labeled pesticide has been used within the last 30 days, or a restricted-entry interval (REI) for such pesticide has been in effect, and workers are performing tasks that involve contact with anything that has been treated with the pesticide, including soil, water, or plants.
When must decontamination supplies be provided for workers?
- If the REI is greater than 4 hours, provide the decontamination supplies until 30 days after the end of the REI.
- If the REI is less than or equal to 4 hours, provide the decontamination supplies until 7 days after the REI expires.
- Water — The agricultural employer must provide at least 1 gallon of water for each worker at the beginning of the work period. Clean running water meets the requirement. When that's not possible, provide water by other means. It must be a quality and temperature that will not cause injury or illness if it contacts skin or eyes, or is swallowed. If a water source is used for mixing pesticides, it cannot be used for decontamination without taking additional precautions to prevent contamination of the water by pesticides (e.g., backflow prevention device, air gap, etc.).
- Soap, and single use towels — enough for workers' needs.
Location of Decontamination Supplies
All decontamination supplies for workers must be located together and be reasonably accessible to where the workers are working (generally within 1/4 mile of the workers). Supplies must be outside of any treated area or an area under a REI.
For worker tasks performed more than 1/4 mile from the nearest point reachable by vehicles or more than 1/4 mile from a non-treated area, the decontamination supplies may be at the nearest vehicular access point outside any treated area or area under a REI.
Decontamination Supplies for Early-Entry Workers
Agricultural employers may direct a worker to enter treated areas when an REI is in effect to perform certain activities. These activities include, but are not limited to moving irrigation equipment, driving a tractor in the treated area, responding to agricultural emergencies, performing short-term or limited contact tasks under specific circumstances and conditions.
During any early-entry activity, the agricultural employer must provide all of the following decontamination supplies:
- At least three gallons of water per early-entry worker at the beginning of each early-entry work period for routine washing and potential emergency decontamination,
- Single-use towels, and
- A clean change of clothing, such as one-size-fits-all coveralls, for use in an emergency.
When applying a pesticide product that requires protective eyewear, 1 pint of water must be immediately available to each handler (applicator) in a portable container (on the applicator's person or in the application equipment being used).
Location of Decontamination Supplies for Early-Entry Workers
Decontamination supplies for early-entry workers:
- Must not be in an area being treated with pesticides.
- Must not be in an area under a REI, unless that location is necessary for the supplies to be reasonably accessible to early-entry workers.
- Must be reasonably accessible to and generally not more than 1/4 mile from early-entry workers.
- May be located at the nearest vehicular access point if tasks being performed are more than 1/4 mile from the nearest point reachable by vehicle (car, truck, or tractor).
Decontamination at the end of early-entry period
Provide at the site where the early-entry workers remove their PPE:
- Single-use towels, and
- At least three gallons of water per early-entry worker so that the worker may wash thoroughly after removing PPE.
Decontamination Supplies for Handlers
Handler employers must provide decontamination supplies for routine washing, emergency decontamination, and eye flushing as described below.
When must the supplies be provided?
Handlers: for the duration of the handling task and until PPE is removed.
- Water — 3 gallons or more per handler is required at the start of the work period. The water must be of a quality and temperature that will not cause illness or injury when it contacts the skin or eyes or if swallowed. If a water source is used for mixing pesticides, it cannot be used for decontamination without additional precautions taken to prevent contamination of the water with pesticides (e.g., back-flow prevention device, air gap, etc.).
- Soap and single use towels — enough for handlers' needs.
- A clean change of clothes, such as one-size-fits-all coveralls, to put on in case of emergency.
Emergency Eye-Flushing Station
This requirement applies:
- At any site where handlers are mixing or loading a pesticide that requires protective eyewear.
- At any site where handlers are mixing or loading any pesticide using a closed system operating under pressure.
The supplies that must be available are:
- A system capable of delivering gently running water at a rate of at least 0.4 gallons per minute for at least 15 minutes, or
- At least 6 gallons of water in containers suitable for providing gently running water for eye flushing for 15 minutes. The container(s) must be able to dispense a gentle steady flow of water.
Additionally, when applying a pesticide that requires protective eyewear, 1 pint of water must be immediately available to each handler (applicator) in a portable container. It could be mounted on the vehicle, on the applicator's person, or otherwise made immediately available.
When decontamination and emergency eye flush water is available to workers, early-entry workers or handlers, it must be of a quality and temperature that will not cause illness or injury when it contacts the skin or eyes or if it is swallowed.
Location of Decontamination Supplies for Handlers
Water for routine cleaning, soap, single use towels and change of clothes must be located together and must be:
- Reasonably accessible to handlers (within 1/4 mile or at the nearest vehicular access),
- Outside of any treated area or an area under an REI, unless supplies are all contained within a pesticide protected closed container,
- At any mixing or loading site, and
- At the site where PPE is removed.
For a pilot who is applying pesticides aerially, the decontamination supplies must be at the aircraft's loading site or in the aircraft.