Menu Search Icon Mail Icon
Davis Saperstein & Salomon
Call Today 201-907-5000
No fee if no recovery
All consultations are free

Workers' Compensation Newsletter

Agricultural Workers, Pesticides and Employer Liability

Agricultural workers are frequently exposed to pesticides in their work environments. Given the potentially life-threatening side effects of exposure to such chemicals, employers may limit liability by taking measures to protect workers from the harmful toxins used in crop production.

Federal and State Regulation

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS), promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), protects agricultural workers from the risks associated with agricultural pesticides. Generally, the WPS requires that employers provide employees with decontamination sites for washing off pesticide residues, designates the proper location of such sites, and specifies that certain materials (water, soap and disposable towels) be made available to the employees.

The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has set worker decontamination requirements that are similar to those issued by the EPA. OSHA requires agricultural employers with more than 10 employees to provide hand-washing facilities, including potable water, when workers utilize hand labor for crop production. Several states, including California, Washington and Oregon, have requirements that are similar or stricter to OSHA’s. However, the majority of states do not have requirements similar to OSHA’s.

Quantifying Worker Exposure

Pesticide exposure depends upon several variables, including the quantity of pesticide handled, environmental conditions, and the duration and frequency of exposure. In order to ensure exposure-specific safeguards, it is necessary for employers to quantify worker exposure.

Two approaches exist to estimate pesticide exposure in relation to specific work tasks:

  1. Dosimetry: Involves placing patches on the worker’s body to trap toxic residues. The patches are then analyzed to determine the amount of toxin the worker has been exposed to. The dosimetry method also uses rinses and wipes to measure pesticide residues on the hands, face and neck, and personal air samplers to measure chemical exposure within a worker’s breathing zone.
  2. Biological Monitoring Studies: Technicians analyze and sample a worker’s urine, blood and/or exhalation to estimate pesticide exposure.

Once occupational exposure information is gathered, an employer can assess a worker’s risk by considering a particular pesticide’s level of toxicity. Because toxicity levels remain constant regardless of the manner in which the pesticide is used, the only way to reduce the risk of harm is to reduce the worker’s exposure to the chemicals. Employers should encourage their employees to follow product label directions, use protective clothing and equipment, and practice safe hygiene procedures.

  • Workplace Insurance: Do You Need It?
    Unless your business is located in the state of Texas, you may be required to provide workers compensation insurance for injuries and accidents your employees may incur while on the job. Texas is the only state in the union that does... Read more.
  • Workers' Compensation Remedies for Pesticide Exposure
    Agriculture is one of the United States’ most hazardous occupations, with a fatality rate estimated at nearly six times that of other industries. In addition to the high risk of injury and strenuous work, agricultural workers are... Read more.
  • Cashing Out a Structured Settlement
    Many people enter into a “structured settlement” as a result of recovery on a legal claim, such as personal injury, medical malpractice, or workers’ compensation. A “structured settlement” takes a lump-sum... Read more.
  • OSHA Standards Governing Construction Worker Exposure to Lead
    The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set forth a number of standards that govern a variety of issues related to the construction workplace. OSHA’s Lead Standard for the Construction Industry... Read more.
Law Commentary Legal News
Share This Page:
Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., is located in Teaneck NJ and serves clients in and around Teaneck, Hackensack, Bergenfield, Tenafly, Englewood, New Milford, Palisades Park, Englewood Cliffs, Dumont, River Edge, Demarest, Haworth, Oradell, Leonia, Bogota, Maywood, Closter, Alpine, Emerson, Fort Lee, Ridgefield Park, Little Ferry, Bergen County, Hudson County and Passaic County.
Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2024 Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. All rights reserved. Custom WebShop™ law firm website design by