Oregon OSHA Pesticide Drift Regs Taking Effect Jan. 1

The rules expand a protective zone, extend the evacuation period, require storage for boots and shoes to prevent pesticides from being tracked into workers' housing, and require doors, windows, and air intakes to be closed when pesticides are applied.

Oregon OSHA's latest "Health and Safety Resource" newsletter reminds employers in the state that Jan. 1, 2019, is the effective date of the agency's rules increasing protection against the risk of pesticides drifting when spraying occurs outdoors. The rules expand a protective zone, extend the evacuation period, require storage for boots and shoes to prevent pesticides from being tracked into workers' housing, and require doors, windows, and air intakes to be closed when pesticides are applied.

The rules exceed EPA's rule requiring Application Exclusion Zones in several ways, according to the newsletter. It points out that EPA's rule was designed to protect workers in the field but doesn't account for the interaction of the Application Exclusion Zone with workers' farm housing and other agricultural structures.

For example, the Oregon OSHA AEZ rules say the Application Exclusion Zone is 100 feet when the pesticide applicator is not required to use a respirator, and also that people must not re-enter the AEZ for an additional 15 minutes, either by staying indoors or remaining evacuated. EPA's rule allows people to return to the AEZ immediately after the pesticide spraying machinery has passed by.

Oregon's rules say the AEZ expands to 150 feet when the applicator is required to use a respirator.

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