New federal Worker Protection Standards for pesticide application training are in effect and will be a major topic for this year’s seminars at the Northwest Ag Show.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulations require those who train farmworkers and pesticide handlers to hold a certified applicator license or complete an EPA-approved Train the Trainer course.

“We need to get the word out about these new regulations,” said Kaci Buhl, senior faculty educator at Oregon State University. “There used to be no requirement on trainers; a handler could train a worker without holding an applicator license or attending any training.”

Buhl’s presentation will kick off this year’s selection of seminars at the Northwest Ag Show at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Her seminar, which will run two hours, will help farmers, nursery operators and foresters determine which of the new standards apply and how to comply with them.

The EPA is updating a standard it put into place over 20 years ago, Buhl said.

In addition, as of Jan. 2, workers and handlers must be trained every year before work commences as opposed to the previous 5-year training mandate.

“That’s why we need so many new WPS trainers in the state,” Buhl said.

The federal mandates will be administered and enforced by Oregon OSHA.

In addition to the training requirements, agricultural employers need to display application and hazard information, provide records to workers upon request and provide more wash-water at pesticide mixing and loading sites for decontamination.

Handlers and early entry workers must be at least 18 years old unless they are members of the immediate family.

“There’s a lot more than training in the Worker Protection Standard,” Buhl said.

A “Quick Reference Guide” and a “How to Comply” manual about the new WPS are available at

Garnet Cooke and Laurie Cohen of Oregon OSHA will also present one-hour seminar segments on the Workers Protection Standards during their Pesticide Courses, which run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Jan. 26.

In addition to the Worker Protection Standards, Cooke and Cohen will speak on how to “decode” the outdated respirator requirement language on pesticide labels, mistakes others have made in the use of pesticides, other topics related to the safe use of pesticides and the best practices for avoiding heat stress on the job.

They will also present discussions on pesticide application exclusion zones and other pesticide-related topics, including a segment on the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative.

For all of Cooke and Cohen’s presentations, see Pages 6-9 of the Northwest Ag Show guide.

In addition to the wide range of seminars related to the new Worker Protection Standards and other safety-related presentations, the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia will offer a grower seminar at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Oregon State University Professor Clark F. Seavert will discuss the economics of establishing a hazelnut orchard in the Willamette Valley.

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