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All About Safety

Worker Protection Standards

WPS Rules Update
Courtesy of Oregonians for Food and Shelter

In late 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a major update to the Worker Protection Standards (WPS). These rules apply when most pesticide products are used on an agricultural establishment. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) is the state agency in charge of implementation of the new rules. In 2016 OR-OSHA adopted most of the EPA rules into their rules, with one major exception. They failed to adopt rules around Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs).

Under the EPA rules, during pesticide applications there is no entry allowed into the AEZ. The AEZ is an area around the application equipment during the pesticide application that moves with the application equipment like a halo. The AEZ is 25 feet for backpack or boom sprayers and 100 feet for "air blast" or aerial applications. The AEZ extends beyond the farm boundary, and includes houses, freeways etc. In its original rulemaking process, OR-OSHA had proposed allowing for a "shelter in place" alternative to the AEZ.

The OR-OSHA "shelter in place" alternative was in response to concerns from growers with farmworker housing within, or directly adjacent to, fields where pesticides will be applied. Under the original proposal, ag employers could instruct occupants of protected spaces under their control to remain within that protected space during nearby crop applications.

Unfortunately, after facing pushback from farmworker advocates, OR-OSHA decided that the AEZ and the proposed alternative, needed more work. They have hosted a series of rules advisory committee meetings over the year which OFS has engaged in. It has become clear through this process, that in addition to an AEZ rule, OR-OSHA is interested in regulating spray drift. This has traditionally been an Oregon Department of Agriculture role, and we are very concerned with the apparent push by OR-OSHA to add more layers of regulation on spray drift.

Complicating matters is the fact that the EPA has stated that it will be delaying federal implementation of the new WPS. This could result in Oregon applicators having much more stringent standards than applicators in any other state. While OR-OSHA has not issued a formal proposal yet, indications are that they will put forward Oregon specific AEZs based on whether a product requires respiratory PPE. These AEZs could be as large as 150 feet for some products.

OR-OSHA will be issuing a formal proposal in September for adoption before the end of 2017. We expect a formal comment period with several hearings scheduled around the state this fall.

A Curriculum for In-Person Delivery of a Train-the-Trainer Course

These are Power-Point Presentations with approximiately 166 slides and 12 sections, available in both English and Spanish. When delivered in their entirety, they are each an EPA-approved Train-the-Trainer course (Approval # EPA WPS TTT W/H 00026) that qualifies a person to train workers and handlers. The English presentation was updated to correct some formatting issues in AEZ-related slides on February 17, 2017.


Health and Safety:

Among ways the Safety Committee achieves its mission and goals is through a strong partnership with SAIF Corp., the OAN's workers' compensation carrier. Members can view safety materials at Much of the information is offered in both English and Spanish.

  • Online training will walk you through the steps to get your safety committees and safety meetings started.
  • Comprehensive safety resources by topic
  • Safety training video library
  • Find tips to prevent injuries, promote health, and better manage workers' comp.
  • plus so much more...

» Visit
» Safety Posters and Forms

Load & Lift: A Guide to Agricultural Lift Truck Safety

The forklift training video covers training required by OSHA code. A dvd of this training program is also availble. If you have questions regarding this program, contact the OAN ( at the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

» Download the Training Manual (PDF)
» More info/order dvd...

Top 10 suggestions for tractor safety

Tractors are the primary source of work-related injuries on farms; nationally, nearly one-third of all farm work fatalities involve tractors. By following the top 10 suggestions for tractor safety in this brochure, the overwhelming majority of tractor-related injury and fatality incidents can be avoided. This information is presented to you courtesy of Penn State Extension, SAIF, Oregon OSHA and the OAN Safety and Insurance Committee.

Protect workers against heat-related illness

With the recent hot weather comes an increased risk of heat-related illness. Heat illness is the result of the body being unable to manage heat exposure through sweating alone. Heat illnesses range from rash and cramps to exhaustion and heat stroke. Left untreated, these illnesses will cause serious health impacts, including possibly death. Any worker exposed to hot and humid conditions is at risk, especially if heavy work or bulky, protective equipment are involved.

Agricultural workers are among those most likely to be at risk. You can reduce the risk and treat the illness chiefly through three means — water, rest and shade. Always keep an eye out on your workers and encourage them to do the same for each other. Also, know the signs of heat illness and know what to do in an emergency. Then, if an emergency exists, don't wait. Act. For more information, read these tips from OSHA. This safety tip is brought to you by SAIF, Oregon OSHA, and the OAN Insurance and Safety Committee.

Protect your eyes

One of your most important senses is also one of your most vulnerable. Left unprotected, eyes can suffer permanent damage from impacts, strong rays, dust, chemicals and flying debris or particles. That's why the OAN Safety & Insurance Committee reminds employers and workers that proper eye protection always should be worn anytime hazards are, or may be, present. The following tips are courtesy of the committee, along with SAIF, the University of Maine, and the National Ag Safety Database:

English: Eye Protection (pdf) | Eye Protection for Farmers
Spanish: Eye Protection (pdf)

Heat can be a killer

Heat kills. In hot weather, workers and their supervisors are advised to monitor conditions and act accordingly to protect themselves and their co-workers. The following tips — compliments of OAN Safety & Insurance Committee, Oregon OSHA and SAIF — will help prevent dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn and other problems arising from the heat:

Heat illness can be prevented!: English | Spanish
Stopping for water keeps you going!: English | Spanish
Using the Heat Index: A Guide for Employers
Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Tractor Safety

The following safety tips are compliments of OAN Safety Committee, SAIF and Agri-Business Council of Oregon.

Tractor safety elements available in video:
A significant percentage of agricultural injuries and fatalities occur on and around tractors. This video covers the nine important safety elements that Oregon OSHA requires every ag employer to review with their tractor drivers at least annually. Safety issues unique to the equipment and work environment are also discussed (2011). Supporting materials: Training Guide for Agriculture Tractor Operators (English Guide) (Spanish Guide)
Play Video in English | Play Video in Spanish
To check out the video: Download the Checkout form (Order code: AGRI-04 (Includes English and Spanish))

Build Your Own Employee Safety Program (CD)

The Safety Program CD is free to OAN Members! Your OAN Safety Committee is dedicated to your safety success. We hope this tool will help you realize your safety goals. This CD is simply organized and presents safety topics, the requirements, references for the particular program and resources available to learn more.

» More info/order...

First Aid and Adult CPR Training Classes

The OAN Safety Committee offers first aid and adult CPR training classes each year in the fall. Classes are held at 3 locations (Boring, Wilsonville and Hillsboro) and are available in English or Spanish.

» Registration starts in September (Members only)

OSHA Resources

The Safety Committee has received several grants from OSHA to develop various safety and health programs. These have covered subjects such as respirator safety ("Breathe Easy: A Respiratory Protection Program"), forklift safety ("Load & Lift: A Guide to Agricultural Lift Truck Safety"), and ergonomics ("Ergonomics in Agriculture: Working Smarter...Not Harder"). All programs are available in English and Spanish. To obtain programs produced by the OAN with OSHA grants, visit the Oregon OSHA On-Line Data Resource System.

» More information...

Safety-Related Links

For links to other safety-oriented web sites visit our Safety-Related Links page.

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