The US EPA Proposed Changes to Agricultural WPS to Simplify AEZ Requirements

In the November 1, 2019 issue of the Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The purpose of the proposed rule change is to simplify the application exclusion zone (AEZ) requirements. Comments are being accepted through January 30, 2020.

The 2015 WPS rule established application exclusion zone requirements (AEZ) for outdoor production, defined as the area extending horizontally around application equipment from which persons generally must be excluded during pesticide applications. EPA is proposing to amend the AEZ requirements in the 2015 WPS rule in the following manner:

  1. to limit the AEZ to the boundaries of the agricultural establishment;
  2. to revise the provisions related to handlers suspending and resuming applications, and the presence of persons on the agricultural establishment during application who are not under the control of the owner or agricultural employer;
  3. to simplify the criteria for determining the AEZ distances for outdoor applications based on application method; and,
  4. to expand the exemption at 40 CFR 170.601(a) to include the AEZ requirements at 40 CFR 170.405(a).

The EPA is not proposing changes to the “do not contact” provision in the WPS that prohibits the application of a pesticide in such a way that it contacts workers or other persons directly or through drift.


EPA Proposed Rule, Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; Revision of the Application Exclusion Zone Requirements (November 1, 2019)