For More Information about WGL & Cholinesterase


Washington Growers League

frequently asked questions about

Washington State Cholinesterase

Medical Monitoring Program


The information below has been provided to Growers League members.  If you are not a member please contact the WGL at: 406 West Chestnut ~ Yakima, WA 98902 ~ Phone 509-575-6315 ~ Fax 509-452-4834 ~ E-mail:


Q1: Are managers, supervisors and foremen who do not handle pesticides but go into a field or orchard before the re-entry interval (REI) required to get cholinesterase monitoring?


A1: No.  Early re-entry work is not covered unless you are a crop advisor. Managers, supervisors and foremen are not crop advisors under the definition in the WPS.


Q2: Are owner/operators or any other owner of the farm required to be in the cholinesterase testing program, or have records kept on their exposure?


A2: No, not unless they are covered by Workers’ Compensation. If they ARE covered by Workers’ Comp then all of WISHA, including the cholinesterase regulations apply to them.


Q3:  When do employees have to do a periodic (follow-up) cholinesterase test?


A3:  No sooner than 30 days after the first day of spraying for the season and no more than every 30 days after that.  However, if the end of a 30-day period in which you exceed the 50 hour exposure threshold is more than 30 days after your last periodic test (or in the case of your first periodic test, more than 30 days after the first day you started handling), you need to be tested within 3-days of the date that you exceeded the50-hour exposure threshold.


Q4:  The rule requires a periodic test within 3 days of reaching the exposure threshold, but no more than once every thirty days.  So what about the first periodic test?  What if an employee reaches 50 hours in 10 days after the first day of beginning spraying? Does he have to get the test within 3 days, or can he wait until 30 days from the first day of spraying?


A4:  30 days after starting spraying.


Q5:  Again for the first periodic test, what if an employee doesn’t have a thirty day period in which he reaches the 50-hour exposure threshold until more than 30 days after the first day of handling, (for example 46 days).


A5:  The employee should be tested within 3-days of the date that you exceeded the 50-hour exposure threshold, in this example, by day 49 after the first day of handling. The next test will be no sooner than 30 days from that date.


Q6:  Which employees need to receive the cholinesterase training?


A6: Although it is not clear in the regulations, L&I is requiring that all handlers of covered pesticides be trained, even if they are not enrolled in testing.

Q7:  What about driving a tractor and working treated soil before the end of the re-entry interval?  Is that exempt early re-entry work or is that “handling”?


A7: It is early entry work and that time does not need to be recorded as counting towards the 50 hour exposure threshold for testing.


Q8: Can an employer require employees to sign a release that requires that the results of all cholinesterase tests be given to the employer?


A8: Employees may sign such a release voluntarily. 


Q9:  Is a person getting tested required to get a full physical at the time of the baseline test?


A9:  No, they must get a medical consultation, which involves the physician asking questions related to health conditions which might affect cholinesterase depression, and providing information on the risks and benefits of testing.


Q10:  Do you have to keep handling records on carbamate if that is all you use is carbamates?


A10:  Yes.


Q11:  How should employers handle the records given me by the medical provider about which employees opted in and which opted out? 


A11: All records on employee cholinesterase tests should be treated as confidential records and should be kept in a file separate from other files such as W-4’ and I-9’s in a locked  cabinet.


Q12:  How should employers keep records of cholinesterase test results?


A12:  All records on employee cholinesterase tests should be considered medical records and should be kept confidentially  in a file separate from other files such as W-4’ and I-9’s in a locked cabinet.


Q13:  What records does an employer need to keep and how long must they be kept?


A13:  The employer must keep for 7 years:

·        Handling records for all employees on the number of hours they handle OP’s or carbamates;

·        The name address and phone number of the health care provider;

·        Written recommendations and opinions from the health care provider;

·        Findings of all work practice investigations;

·        Dates when employees were removed and returned to work;

·        Signed declination (opt out) statements.