The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is designed to reduce the risk of pesticide accidents with workers in agriculture. Some of the requirements set forth in the 2015 revision of the WPS were selected for delayed implementation to give growers time to ready themselves for compliance. The latest set of regulations from this revision went into effect Jan. 2, 2018.
The following information is a summary of essential training requirements and exemptions specified in the WPS along with some EPA-approved sources for training materials.
Pesticide safety training for workers and handlers
- Workers need to be trained before entering a pesticide treated area. (A treated area is one in which an REI from a pesticide application has been in effect within the last 30 days.) This often means workers will need to be trained their first day on the job.
- Handlers need to be trained before engaging in any handler activity.
- Employers must ensure workers and handlers receive pesticide safety training annually.
- Pesticide safety training must be delivered in a manner employees can understand.
- Trainers must be present for the duration of the training session.
- Trainers must respond to questions from the trainees.
- Employers are required to keep training records for at least two years.
- Employers must inform workers and handlers on where to find the following safety-related materials at the worksite:
- EPA WPS Safety Poster
- Hazard communication information (what pesticide was applied, REI, etc.)
- Safety data sheets
- Decontamination supplies (water, soap, single-use towels)
Training materials for handlers and workers
- Training must be presented orally from written materials or audio-visually (i.e., a video).
- Use EPA-approved presentation materials with a designated EPA approval number.
- New for 2018: Expanded content must be included in all training sessions.