The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has voted to temporarily pause the final rule for farmer pesticide protections from the Environmental Protection Agency.
This rule, which would revise the pesticide application exclusion zone requirement in the EPA’s agricultural worker protection standard, will be on pause until at least Aug. 22.
The application exclusion zone is the area surrounding where the pesticide is applied “that must be free of all persons, other than appropriately trained and equipped handlers, during pesticide applications.”
About the final pesticide rule
The new rule would do the following to update the current standard:
- Make exclusion requirements applicable and enforceable only within farm owners’ property, amending current provisions that extend the boundary to areas outside a farm in which workers and others may be exposed to pesticide processes.
- Exempt farm owners’ immediate family members from the requirement.
- Establish clarifying language stating that pesticide applications suspended as a result of individuals entering an exclusion zone may be resumed after the individuals have left the area.
- Simplify criteria for determining whether pesticide applications are subject to a 25- or 100-foot exclusion zone.
Events leading up to the stay
Initially, the state of New York filed a lawsuit against the EPA, which pushed back on the more relaxed exclusion zone limits.
And, the district court granted an initial stay of the rule on Dec. 28, 2020 — exactly one day before the final rule was to have taken effect. The second stay was announced in the May 16 Federal Register after the court issued the decision on Feb. 15 to continue to halt the rule.
Where does the pesticide rule go from here?
The EPA anticipates issuing a proposal with an update to the rule that would address the application exclusion zone in the coming months.
The agency says it intends to thoroughly review the 2020 rule to determine if it is consistent with the policies established in Executive Order 13990, which follows scientific means to advance public health and the environment.
Any final rule resulting from this process may end up modifying the standard for the 2020 rule, the overall agricultural worker protection standard, or possibly even both.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!