An Insight Into WPS Compliance: Correcting Violations, Citations and More.
By: Jack Peterson, ESD Associate Director
ESD conducts inspections to verify compliance with the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). This law is intended to ensure employees are provided protections from pesticides. Some of the provisions included are providing personal protective equipment, water for decontamination, training on pesticides and potential exposures, a central posting location with information on pesticide safety and where pesticides have been applied on an establishment and finally transport to a medical facility should an employee believe they were exposed to pesticides.
Normally these inspections find most items in compliance, but sometimes parts are missed or a mistake is made and a violation is documented. Then what should an employer do?
1) Talk with the inspector and ensure there is an understanding of what must be done to come into compliance.
2) Do what is necessary to correct the issue and provide documentation to the inspector it has been corrected. (Do this quickly, see compliance note below.)
3) Think about your establishment are there other locations that similar violations could be occurring. Verify they are not.
We get asked what violations normally will cause a citation and penalty to be assessed. Please remember each case is unique, but these are some examples:
1) Employees are not trained.
2) Central posting location is deficient or missing.
3) PPE is not provided or available.
4) Decontamination supplies are not available.
5) Documentation of training is insufficient.
If you do receive a citation, what should you do? Review the citation, was something overlooked, did we make a mistake and do you understand what you received. Often I am contacted and told that the violation was corrected. Our inspectors often verify this and it may be stated on the citation itself. We acknowledge the violations were corrected. This does not make the violation go away or mean there will be no penalty. I liken this to passing a DPS officer going 85 mph in a 65 mph zone. You immediately slow down, however, you still get the ticket for speeding.
Some things to help you stay in compliance: 1. Contact ACT’s Roberto Rios at 602-542-0985 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can do compliance assistance visits. 2. Contact any of us in compliance when you have questions not only about WPS but anything pesticide use compliance related. We are more than happy to discuss with you and provide input.
Compliance Note: Did you know if a violation is found, it is to your advantage to get it corrected ASAP? If you correct it within a week, this can give you a 2 point reduction in the number the penalty is based on. Within 2 weeks and you can get a 1 point reduction. Each violation can be anywhere from a $250 to a $500 penalty. So following is what each violation could be. Look at the savings with a 1 or 2 point reduction…and this could be per violation.