Following the WPS
If you are a pesticide handler (applicator) or agricultural worker for an agricultural establishment, then you are protected under the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). This may include farms, forests, nurseries, or greenhouses. Parts of the WPS may not apply to many farm owners and their immediate families.
Below are some tips and resources to help you stay safe on the job and find out more about complying with the law.
WPS tips for employees (workers and applicators):
- Annual training is required for all workers and handlers before work can begin.
- Pesticides can pose risks even after they are applied. Take steps to reduce your exposure and avoid taking residues home.
- Know where pesticide application and emergency information is posted. Also know where emergency wash stations are located.
- Many applications must stop if somebody is within a certain distance of the application equipment. This is called the Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ). The AEZ may extend past the property lines.
- Labels will require that you wait a certain amount of time after a pesticide application before re-entering the area. Check for the Restricted-Entry Interval (REI).
- The employer must post signs at the entrances to treated areas or give verbal warning not to enter during the REI.
Additional tips for applicators:
- If using a pesticide, always read and follow the label directions carefully.
- Pesticide product labels include specific instructions for protecting employees. Look for the "Agricultural Use Requirements" under "Directions for Use."
- Your employer provides you with required personal protective equipment (PPE). Make sure you inspect your PPE for leaks or tears every time you use it.
- Employees who use respirators will need training, medical evaluations, and fit-testing.
WPS tips for employers:
- As an employer, you are responsible for providing employees with protections required by the WPS.
- You must provide annual safety training for workers and handlers before work begins.
- There must be a central location where pesticide application and emergency information is posted. These include safety data sheets and a required safety poster.
- Access to decontamination sites and routine washing stations is required.
- All handlers and early-entry workers must be 18 years or older.
- You must provide employees with PPE that is required by the label.
- If the label requires use of a respirator, the employee will need annual training, medical evaluations, and fit-testing.
- If a possible pesticide poisoning or injury occurs, you must provide emergency information and transportation, promptly.
- All pesticide application and hazard information must be kept on file for 2 years. These records must be provided to an employee if requested.
If you have questions about the this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated May 14, 2019