[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 244 (Thursday, December 21, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60576-60577]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27303]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 170

[EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0543; FRL-9972-10]
RINs 2070-AK40 and 2070-AK43


Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard; 
Reconsideration of Several Requirements and Notice About Compliance 
Dates

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: EPA is providing notice to the public that it has initiated a 
rulemaking process to revise certain requirements in the Agricultural 
Worker Protection Standard. EPA expects to publish a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking in FY 2018 to solicit public input on proposed revisions to 
the WPS requirements for minimum age, designated representative, and 
application exclusion zone.

DATES: EPA is also announcing that the compliance dates in the revised 
WPS published on November 2, 2015 (80 FR 67496) (FRL-9931-81) remain in 
effect and that the Agency does not intend to extend them.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Keaney, Field and External 
Affairs Division (7506P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460-
0001; telephone number: (703) 305-5557; email address: 
keaney.kevin@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you work in or 
employ persons working in crop production agriculture where pesticides 
are applied. The following list of North American Industrial 
Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, 
but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this 
document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:
     Agricultural Establishments (NAICS code 111000).
     Nursery and Tree Production (NAICS code 111421).
     Timber Tract Operations (NAICS code 113110).
     Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products (NAICS 
code 113210).
     Farm Workers (NAICS codes 11511, 115112, and 115114).
     Pesticide Handling on Farms (NAICS code 115112).
     Farm Labor Contractors and Crew Leaders (NAICS code 
115115).
     Pesticide Handling in Forestry (NAICS code 115310).
     Pesticide Manufacturers (NAICS code 325320).
     Farm Worker Support Organizations (NAICS codes 813311, 
813312, and 813319).
     Farm Worker Labor Organizations (NAICS code 813930).
     Crop Advisors (NAICS codes 115112, 541690, 541712).

II. What action is the Agency taking?

A. Potential Changes to Several WPS Requirements

    In accordance with Executive Order 13777, titled Enforcing the 
Regulatory Reform Agenda, EPA solicited public comments on regulations 
that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification as part 
of the President's Regulatory Reform Agenda efforts. The comments 
received can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov under docket EPA-
HQ-OA-2017-0190. EPA received comments on the Agricultural Worker 
Protection Standard (WPS) requirements for minimum age, designated 
representative, and application exclusion zone (AEZ). These three 
topics were discussed at the November 2, 2017, meeting of the Office of 
Pesticide Program's Federal Advisory Committee, the Pesticide Program 
Dialogue Committee (PPDC). A transcript of the meeting will be posted 
when available on EPA's website at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-advisory-committees-and-regulatory-partners/pesticide-program-dialogue-committee-meeting-5. After considering these comments, revisiting the 
record, and reviewing the applicable statutory authority, EPA has 
determined that further consideration of the WPS requirements for 
minimum age, designated representative, and AEZ is warranted through 
the rulemaking process. A brief summary of the existing WPS 
requirements for minimum age, designated representative, and the AEZ is 
provided below.
    1. Minimum Age. The 2015 WPS established a minimum age of 18 years 
for pesticide handlers and for early-entry workers, with an exemption 
for owners of agricultural establishments and their immediate family 
members.

[[Page 60577]]

    2. Designated Representative. The 2015 WPS required agricultural 
employers to provide pesticide application information and safety data 
sheets to a designated representative of a worker or handler under 
certain circumstances. This requirement is in addition to the 
requirement for agricultural employers to provide that information to 
medical personnel, workers or handlers requesting it.
    3. Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs). For outdoor production on 
farms, nurseries and forests, the 2015 WPS rule established AEZ 
requirements to reduce the number of incidents where workers or other 
persons are exposed to pesticides during agricultural pesticide 
applications. The 2015 WPS requires agricultural employers to keep 
workers and other persons out of certain areas around the pesticide 
application equipment (i.e., AEZs) during ongoing pesticide 
applications, in addition to continuing the 1992 WPS requirement to 
keep workers and other persons out of the treated area. The 2015 WPS 
also requires pesticide applicators (handlers) to suspend a pesticide 
application if workers or other persons are in the AEZ.
    EPA is providing notice to the public that the Agency has initiated 
a rulemaking process to reconsider the requirements in the 2015 revised 
WPS for minimum age at 40 CFR 170.309(c), 170.313(c) and 170.605(a); 
designated representative at 170.305 and 170.311(b)(9); and application 
exclusion zone at 170.305, 170.405 and 170.505(b). EPA expects to 
publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in FY 2018 to solicit public 
input on the proposed revisions to the WPS.

B. WPS Compliance Dates

    EPA is also announcing that the compliance dates in the revised WPS 
remain in effect and that the Agency does not intend to extend them. 
Therefore, compliance with the revised WPS requirements will be 
required as set forth in the November 2, 2015 (80 FR 67496) (FRL-9931-
81) revised WPS at 40 CFR 170.2, 170.311, 170.401, 170.501 and 170.505. 
Compliance with most of the revised WPS requirements was required 
beginning January 2, 2017. Compliance will be required with two 
additional requirements starting January 2, 2018; specifically, the 
pesticide safety information display (poster) which will have to 
include the revised content, and pesticide handlers (applicators) will 
have to temporarily suspend applications if workers or other persons 
enter into the application exclusion zone during pesticide 
applications. EPA will work with States and Tribes to implement the 
revised WPS in 2018.
    The only requirements in the revised WPS that will not be in effect 
as of January 2, 2018 are the requirements that the worker and handler 
pesticide safety training material cover the expanded content at 40 CFR 
170.401(c)(3) and 170.501(c)(3). The 2015 revised WPS provided that 
compliance with the expanded pesticide safety content in these sections 
was not required until 180 days after EPA publishes in the Federal 
Register a notice of availability of certain training materials. While 
there are training materials available that meet the expanded content 
requirement, EPA has not yet published a Federal Register notice 
announcing their availability and does not plan to issue such a notice 
until the rulemaking process on the minimum age, designated 
representative and application exclusion zone requirements is complete. 
If any of those requirements change as a result of the rulemaking 
process, all of the training materials covering the expanded pesticide 
safety content (including videos, presentations and flip charts) would 
have to be changed. EPA is delaying the publication of the training 
materials availability notice to prevent extra work and costs to 
developers of the training materials and EPA reviewers. Therefore, 
pesticide safety training for workers and handlers may continue to be 
conducted using EPA-approved ``old'' materials (covering the topics in 
the August 21, 1992 WPS (57 FR 38102) (FRL-3774-6)) or EPA-approved 
``new'' materials (covering the topics in the 2015 WPS) after January 
2, 2018, and until the rulemaking process is complete. Training on the 
expanded pesticide safety content will not be required until 180 days 
after EPA publishes a Federal Register notice announcing the 
availability of training materials that cover the expanded content in 
40 CFR 170.401(c)(3) and 170.501(c)(3).

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 136-136y.

    Dated: December 13, 2017.
Charlotte Bertrand,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical 
Safety and Pollution Prevention.
[FR Doc. 2017-27303 Filed 12-20-17; 8:45 am]
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