Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the agricultural industry recently met to discuss the recently updated Worker Protection Standard, which provides stricter protections for agricultural workers.
"There are approximately 13,000 farmworkers in the state of New Jersey, and every farmworker deserves a safe and healthy work environment,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, who attended the meeting, said. “EPA is committed to reducing the exposure of toxic pesticides to farmworkers and their families.”
Enck, along with governmental representatives from the federal and state level, visited Hammonton, New Jersey’s, Atlantic Blueberry Farm to discuss the stronger protections. These new regulations were finalized in September 2015 and will go into effect in January 2017. They require higher levels of training, notification, pesticide safety, hazard communication, personal protective equipment use and routine washing and emergency decontamination equipment availability.
While immediate family members are exempt from most of the rules covered in the Worker Protection Standard, other parties are now subject to a minimum age for pesticide handling of 18 years old, mandatory annual training on pesticide exposure, minimum amounts of water provided to them, and initial safety training before beginning work, amongst other measures.