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Environmental Protection Agency's Worker Protection Standard





The following information deals with US EPA's Worker Protection Standard (WPS) which went into full effect on January 1, 1995. Anyone who uses pesticides in the production of an agricultural plant on farms, forests, nurseries or in greenhouses and employes agricultural workers or pesticide handlers must comply with the WPS. This is intended to be used as an outline and does not fully address the WPS. Total compliance will best be achieved by following the US EPA's "How to Comply Manual" [pdf; source: EPA]. Additional information can be found on the US EPA website.

Covered Uses:

Growing an agricultural plant on a:

  1. Farm
  2. Forest
  3. Nursery, or in a
  4. Greenhouse

Non WPS Uses:

  • Right-of-Way
  • Pasture or rangeland
  • Livestock and their premise
  • Rodent control
  • Mosquito abatement
  • Harvested portion of crops (such as grain)


Protection for Workers and Handlers:

  1. Bulletin board
    1. Safety poster (not required for commercial handling establishments)
    2. Nearest emergency medical facility
    3. List of pesticide applications:
      1. Location
      2. Product name
      3. EPA Reg. #
      4. Active ingredient
      5. Time and date
      6. Restricted Entry Interval (REI)
  2. Pesticide safety training for workers and handlers
    • Handler: mixes, loads or applies a pesticide, crop constultant or works on application equipment.
    • Worker: does hand labor in a pesticide treated area (within 30 days after an application) such as harvesting, weeding, pruning, etc.
    • Handlers must be trained before performing any handling task.
    • Workers must be trained befire five (5) days of entry into a pesticide treated area.
    • Training is valid for five (5) years
    • Content of the training is in the US EPA's "Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides"
    • No requirement to document training; however, you probably should document the training. Training can be provided by commercial or private applicators, Extension Educators, or Transition Resources Incorporated for training in Spanish - contact Santiago Tijernina at Telephone Number 317-547-1924.
  3. Decontamination site *
    • For Workers: soap, water, paper towels
    • For Handlers: soap, water, paper towels and a change of clothes
    * must be within 1/4 mile of work site

  4. Emergency Assistance
    • Provide transportation
    • Provide information about pesticide exposure
  5. Notice about applications
    • Employer must inform workers about current applications and areas under REI.
    • Some pesticides may require posting.
    • Posting is not for the general public.
    • Post only if stated on the label.
    • No posting if workers will not be within 1/4 mile of treated area during REI.
  6. Employer information exchange
    Commercial handlers must inform their customers (farmers) about:
    • Location
    • Time and date
    • Product name
    • EPA Reg. #
    • Active ingredient
    • REI
    • Oral and posted warnings
    Farmers must inform Dealers about any areas that may be under a REI while the Dealer applicator is on the farm.

  7. Exemptions
    If only the agricultural owner and the immediate family are employed:
    • Spouse, children, stepchildren, foster children, parents, step-parents, foster parents, brothers and sisters then they are exempt from the following:
      1. Bulletin board
      2. Safety training
      3. Decontamination site
      4. Emergency assistance
      5. Notice about applications
  8. Owners and immediate family must still follow all specific label instructions.


Still confused? If you have questions or concerns about WPS, contact Joe Becovitz of the Office of Indiana State Chemist at 765-494-1589 or by e-mail at: becovitzj@purdue.edu.