Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information, Materials and Services for those who work in the Agricultural Industry

800-343-7527 | info@nycamh.org

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information, Materials and Services for those who work in the Agricultural Industry

Respirator Fit Test Clinics

NYCAMH's upcoming fit test clinics have been cancelled until further notice.

 

This is in response to the increased risk of spreading Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during respirator fit testings and the urgent need to preserve fit-testing resources for health professionals.

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requirement of annual respirator fit testings for agricultural workers who handle pesticides is being deferred for some in 2020, according to a representative of the The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

 

Who is Temporarily Exempt:

Pesticide handlers fit-tested during the 2019 season meet WPS requirements for the 2020 season unless:

  • the person has gained or lost 20 pounds or more, or

  • has had dental/face surgery since the prior year's fit test

Handlers not fit-tested during the 2019 season are not exempt from the WPS fit testing requirement in 2020. Further information can be found here.

According to the EPA Worker Protection Standard, any agricultural worker applying a pesticide must comply with pesticide label specifications regarding respirator use. (The pesticide label will specify if a respirator is required and, if so, which type is needed.) OSHA requires that an annual fit test be performed with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator before it is used that year. In addition to the fit test, a pesticide applicator must be trained and medically cleared to ensure there are no health risks to an individual working and wearing a respirator. Farms must keep records of employee fit-tests for up to two years.

If you or a worker do not meet the 2020 temporary exemptions, contact NYCAMH for assistance: 800-343-7527 or e-mail FitTest@bassett.org.

When to Use a Respirator

A respirator can protect you from harmful airborne substances related to a number of common farm tasks including:

  • Cleaning barns or other animal confinement areas
  • Handling dusty/moldy hay or bedding materials
  • Mixing footbath chemicals
  • Applying certain pesticides, fertilizers or other crop chemicals (check label requirements)
  • Silo filling, unloading or maintenance
  • Grain or silage handling or working in grain bins
  • Welding

How to Select a Respirator

The EPA Worker Protection Standard requires that anyone applying a pesticide—conventional and organic, on farms or in greenhouses—comply with pesticide label specifications regarding respirator use. The label will specify if a respirator is required and, if so, which type is needed.

OSHA requires that an annual fit test be performed with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator before it is used that year. In addition to the fit test, a pesticide applicator must be trained and medically cleared to insure there are no health risks to an individual working and wearing a respirator. See NYCAMH's calendar for fit testings in your region (atdir).

For additional information, contact one of NYCAMH's farm safety specialists at FitTest@bassett.org or 800-343-7527.

Additional resources