1999 WPS Compliance Inspection Results

March 17, 2000
As mentioned last spring by University of Illinois Extension in several newsletters, radio spots, and other media, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) inspected a number of Illinois commercial application establishments, greenhouses, nurseries, and farms during the 1999 growing season to specifically assess compliance with the Worker Protection Standards (WPS). IDOA's report is broken down into the major inspection areas shown below. The most common violation (18% of the sites in violation) was due to poor information exchange between producers and commercial handlers. The remaining areas of violation (range of 4%­13% of the sites in violation) are summarized below.

1. Information at a central location. Employees were not always informed about scheduled pesticide applications; the location and description of the areas that are to be treated; information about the pesticide that will be applied; restricted entry interval; and details about whom they should contact in case of an emergency. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 23­24.

2. Pesticide safety training. Not all workers and handlers were trained according to the WPS. In a few cases, the training material or content was also inadequate. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 25­27.

3. Decontamination sites. The quantity, quality, or accessibility of water for emergency eye flushing was not always acceptable. In addition, handlers did not always have a clean change of clothes available to them. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 29­31.

4. Employer information exchange. Commercial pesticide applicators did not always provide the producer with the information needed to comply with item 1 (above). Conversely, commercial WPS handlers were frequently not informed about pesticide applications that had already been made and about restrictions on entering those sites. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 33­34.

5. Emergency assistance. No violations reported.

6. Notice about applications. Some posting signs were of the wrong size or design. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 41­44.

7. Restrictions during/after applications. No violations reported.

8. Early-entry work situations. No violations reported.

9. Personal protection equipment for early-entry workers. No violations reported.

10. Handler restrictions and monitoring. No violations reported.

11. Specific instructions for WPS handlers. Again, commercial WPS handlers were frequently not informed about pesticide applications that had already been made and restrictions on entering those sites.

12. Equipment safety. No violations reported.

13. Personal protection equipment for handlers. In a few cases, personal protection equipment was not always in clean, operating condition, and gas cartridges (for respirators) were not replaced frequently enough. Covered in the EPA's "The Worker Protection Standard--How to Comply," pages 79­81.

Overall, the rate of compliance was good. However, as pointed out, several areas still need work. To prepare for future WPS inspections, please consult the EPA's "The Worker Protection StandardHow to Comply" manual (revised July 1993). Note that Appendix B includes a variety of useful compliance checklists, forms, and fact sheets. For a free copy of this manual, contact Tom Walker with the Illinois Department of Agriculture at (217) 785-2427. In addition, your local University of Illinois Extension office can provide you with several helpful WPS resources, such as the WPS Resource Guide and The WPS in Illinois ( http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/~pse/resources/resources.html). You'll also find the latter document in the 2000 Illinois Agricultural Pest Management Handbook, which is available through your local Extension office.--Bruce Paulsrud

Author: Bruce Paulsrud