EPA has released guidance regarding the annual pesticide safety training requirements outlined in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard that offers flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency is aware that COVID-19 may make it difficult for agricultural employers and handler employers to provide WPS pesticide safety training or hire agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who have been trained in the last 12 months, as required by the standard.
In response, the guidance aims to inform agricultural employers and handler employers of flexibilities available under the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard to allow continued protection for employees and agricultural production:
- EPA encourages in-person training if workplace protections to maintain a healthy work environment are able to be implemented. For example, an employer may be able to provide pesticide safety training outside, in smaller than usual groups with well-spaced participants.
- Alternatively, Agricultural Worker Protection Standard training can be presented remotely, provided all training requirements are met.
- The employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring the training meets all requirements outlined in the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard. For example, the training must still be presented in a manner the trainees can understand, in an environment reasonably free from distractions, and cover the full training content using EPA-approved training materials.
- Once the training ends, the employer must document successful completion under a qualified trainer.