Beyond Toxics Leads Challenge to Oregon OSHA’s Proposed Rules

In 2017 and 2018, Beyond Toxics led the fight to challenge Oregon OSHA’s proposed new rules on farmworker pesticide protections. The new rules would put migrant farmworkers and their families at high risk of pesticide exposure, both in the fields and while sleeping, cooking and living in onsite labor housing. Beyond Toxics formed a coalition of Oregon’s farm and forestry worker unions and advocacy organizations, plus labor and social justice groups to force OSHA to reverse course. The Agency’s position was unacceptable!

As a result, Oregon adopted some of the strongest pesticide protection rules for farmworkers in the nation. The coalition successfully won the adoption of the following procedures and rules in Oregon:

  • Ensuring farmworkers or their representatives hold legitimate seats at the decision-making table;
  • Demanding that the Application Exclusion Zone expand past 100 ft.;
  • Requiring public hearings in key farmworker communities with Spanish translation and schedule both daytime and evening meetings to make it easier for workers to attend;
  • Requiring posted/written advance notification of spray activities included the name of the active ingredient/location/time;
  • Requiring employers to provide air tight lockers for shoes, jackets and toys during a spray;
  • Mandatory evacuation from labor housing during the use of the most dangerous pesticide products;
  • A new OR-OSHA Workgroup on Farm Worker Housing Quality with representation from farm worker advocacy groups (first meeting in early December 2018)