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Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
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In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted
the federal Worker Protection Standard to protect agricultural
workers, including pesticide handlers and applicators, from
pesticides and their residues. In order to assist agricultural
employers comply with the WPS, EPA has updated its
How to Comply manual. Although this manual includes
changes to the federal standard in the last decade, it does not
address more restrictive Washington State requirements for
decontamination and training that are found in
Washington's Worker Protection Standard. These more
restrictive state requirements are addressed in the
WSDA Manual Insert.
Department of Labor and Industries' Cholinesterase Monitoring Rule requires monitoring of all agricultural employees who handle toxicity category I or II organophosphate or N-methyl-carbamate pesticides.
Exposure to organophosphate or N-methyl-carbamate pesticides may reduce the activity of cholinesterase, an enzyme that aids in regulation of the nervous system. Reduced cholinesterase activity may result in overstimulation of the nervous system with physical symptoms including blurred vision, headache, increased sweating, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. Severe exposures can lead to slowing of the heart rate, seizures, unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death.
Monitoring of pesticide handlers can detect overexposure and prevent illness. Cholinesterase monitoring includes:
Providing annual baseline laboratory testing and periodic testing, during the application season, of blood cholinesterase levels for workers with significant exposures.
Cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticide products
To access a copy of L&I's Cholinesterase Monitoring Rule and learn more about cholinesterase monitoring go to WISHA's cholinesterase monitoring page or call Pam Edwards, at (360) 902-6457 (Labor & Industries, Olympia) or Pedro Serrano at (360) 902-5419 (Spanish.)
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