Worker Protection Standard Application Exclusion Zone
On October 30, 2020, EPA finalized narrow updates to the AEZ provisions under the WPS.
The revised AEZ requirements improve enforceability for state regulators and reduce regulatory burdens for farmers. The final rule maintains the primary WPS protection for farmworkers, handlers, and other individuals in areas where pesticide applications are taking place by prohibiting applicators from using a pesticide in a manner that would result in sprays contacting unprotected individuals either directly or through drift. These revisions are consistent with the Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2018 (PRIA 4).
Specifically, EPA made the following changes to the AEZ provisions:
- AEZ requirements are limited to within the boundaries of the agricultural establishment, removing off-farm responsibilities that were proving difficult for state regulators to enforce. No changes were made to the “Do Not Contact” provision that prohibits a handler/applicator and the handler’s employer from applying a pesticide in such a way that it contacts workers or other persons directly or through drift.
- Includes clarifying language that pesticide applications that are suspended due to individuals entering an AEZ may be resumed after those individuals have left the AEZ.
- Allows agricultural employers and handlers to make or resume applications when individuals are in an area subject to an easement, provided that the handler can ensure that the application will not contact those individuals.
- Allows owners and their immediate family to shelter in place inside closed buildings, housing, or shelters within the AEZ during applications. It also allows handlers to perform applications near closed buildings, housing, or shelters where the owner’s immediate family are sheltering-in-place, provided that the owner has expressly instructed the handlers that only the owner’s immediate family are inside the building or structure and that the application should proceed despite their presence in the AEZ. This will allow farm owners and their immediate family members to decide whether to stay in their homes or other enclosed structures on their property during certain pesticide applications, rather than compelling them to leave even when they feel safe remaining inside.
- Simplifies the criteria for deciding whether pesticide applications are subject to the 25- or 100-foot AEZ.
The final AEZ requirements will go into effect on December 29, 2020.
View the AEZ comparison table. This table summarizes the differences between the 2015 WPS/AEZ requirements and what EPA has finalized.
To view the final rule, please visit docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0543.
Frequent Questions on AEZ
The videos and documents below provide general guidance to help you comply with the AEZ requirements of the WPS for agricultural pesticides, 40 CFR part 170, as amended in 2015. New guidance on the AEZ will be provided after the final rule becomes effective.
The following video provides a visual representation of an application AEZ. As the airplane moves across the field, or the area in green, the color changes to blue, indicating that the area has been treated and is subject to the restricted-entry interval (REI) specified on the pesticide product labeling and to the relevant Worker Protection Standard restrictions after applications.
This video provides a visual representation of an AEZ on field borders. To comply with WPS AEZ requirements you must suspend pesticide application if people are present. Then, you must evaluate the situation and conditions and determine if you can resume the application without contacting anyone with the pesticide, either directly or through drift.
- 2020 Final AEZ Provisions Frequently Asked Questions
- 2015 Worker Protection Standard Frequently Asked Questions
- Application Exclusion Zone Question and Answer Fact Sheet
For questions about how to comply with the WPS rule requirements and the 2020 AEZ revisions, contact Ryne Yarger at (email@example.com)