Handling Agricultural Chemicals

The DOL proposes to revise 29 C.F.R. §570.71(a)(10) and replace it with a new provision positioned at 29 C.F.R. §570.99(b)(9) entitled “Occupations involving handling of pesticides.” The DOL prevents young hired farm workers from performing any task listed under EPA definition of “pesticide handler.” The DOL proposes to adopt the definition of "pesticide" contained in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.(6)

The prohibition includes mixing, loading, transferring, applying, disposing of, handling, cleaning, adjusting and assisting with pesticides or implements that may contain pesticide residue, but does not include any person handling pesticide containers that have been emptied and cleaned according to pesticide product labeling instructions. No student- learner exemption is provided for.

Transporting, Transferring, Applying Anhydrous Ammonia

The proposal moves current Ag HO to 29 C.F.R. §570.99(b)(12) and renames it to “Occupations involving transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia.”

Tobacco Production and Curing

The DOL proposes to create a new Ag HO prohibiting employment of young hired farm workers in tobacco production and curing in order to prevent occupational illness due to green tobacco sickness.

• Employment in Ag Under Adverse Conditions

The DOL is considering whether to create new a Ag HO that limits the exposure of young hired farm workers to extreme temperatures and/or arduous conditions, and is seeking comment from stakeholders on how to best protect young workers from heat-related illness and injury.

• Clarifying parental exemption

The DOL proposes to clarify the parental exemption involving ag employment by including information about the exemption. The proposal provides guidance as to who qualifies as a parent, the determination of whether a farm is “operated by” a parent, and how DOL interprets the extension of the parental exemption to persons “standing in the place of parent” as well as relatives who may take temporary custody. Under the proposal, the parent must be the employer of the minor for the exemption to apply.

Submitting Comments

The DOL is seeking public comment on the proposed rules, including comments on situations where a farm or farm property is owned by a closely-held corporation or partnership consisting of family members or other close relatives. Comments are due by Nov. 1, 2011, and can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov or mailed to Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210.

For original article, see: U.S. Department of Labor Proposed Rules Relate to Young Farm Workers

Erin Herbold-Swalwell:Staff Attorney, ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Member of the Iowa Bar.

Roger A. McEowen:Leonard Dolezal Professor in Agricultural Law, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Director of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Member of the Iowa and Kansas Bar Associations and Licensed to Practice in Nebraska.

1 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq.

2 29 C.F.R. §§570 and 579.

3 29 C.F.R. §570.

4 29 U.S.C. §201(3)(f).

5 29 C.F.R. §§570.72(a)-(c).

6 7 U.S.C. §136 et seq.