OSHA Law Alert: Oregon OSHA Issues Proposed Changes to Worker Protection Standard in Agriculture

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In response to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s adoption of more stringent standards for the application of pesticides and herbicides in agricultural settings, Oregon OSHA has proposed revisions to its own Worker Protection Standard in Agriculture.    Oregon OSHA’s rule incorporates the more stringent federal standards, and it also proposes new Oregon Administrative Rules reflecting Oregon-specific requirements.  Most significant for agricultural employers, the new OARs would:

  • Provide specific deadlines for worker training programs required by the new standards;
  • Offer a compliance alternative to evacuation of tight, solid structures that might fall within the Application Exclusion Zone;
  • Maintain Oregon’s more protective requirements related to respiratory protection and emergency eye-washes;
  • Provide a compliance alternative to ease the transition during the first year of the rule changes; and
  • Augment the training requirements for those who provide handler training.

These new rules will significantly affect employers in the agricultural industry.

Oregon OSHA has scheduled four public hearings on the proposed rule, and it will accept comment on the rule until December 14, 2016.  Oregon OSHA anticipates adopting a final version of this rule in December of 2016.

Given the significant impacts the new Worker Protection Standards will have on agricultural employers in the state, potentially impacted businesses should carefully consider the impacts of the proposed rule and, as appropriate, participate in the rulemaking process by testifying at one of the public hearings or submitting written comments to Oregon OSHA.

For more information on the proposed rule and to learn more about the opportunities to become involved in the rulemaking process, visit Oregon OSHA’s web page for the proposed rule by clicking on the following link.

Key Contributors

Louis A. Ferreira
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