Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

  • General Information

  • Requirements

  • WPS Resources

  • Training Resources

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enforced, in Iowa, by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). It is designed to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. The WPS covers agricultural workers, early-entry workers, and pesticide handlers.

Agricultural workers

Individuals employed for any type of compensation, including self-employed workers, doing tasks related to the production of agricultural plants on an agricultural establishment. Examples include weeding, planting, watering, cultivation, and harvest. Agricultural workers also do related tasks, such as mowing or operating irrigation equipment.
Pest Management and the Environment

Early-entry workers

Perform special tasks involving anything that has been treated with a pesticide including soil, air, water the surface of plants where pesticide residues may be found.

Pesticide handlers

Employed to mix, load, transfer or apply agricultural pesticides, dispose of pesticides or pesticide containers, and handle open pesticide containers. Pesticide handlers may also clean, adjust, handle, or repair the parts of mixing, loading, or application equipment that may contain pesticide residues. They may assist with the application of pesticides, participate in soil fumigation, or act as a crop advisor. Pesticide handlers under WPS are different from certified handler certification in Iowa.

The WPS covers any pesticide that has an “Agricultural Use Requirements” section on the label. This section includes personal protective equipment (PPE), restricted entry intervals (REI), and other WPS requirements. However, the label does not provide all that is needed to comply with the WPS.

The WPS requires owners or managers of an agricultural establishment (any farm, forest, nursery, or greenhouse) to provide employees with the following:

  • Pesticide safety training - Training is required for all workers and handlers.
  • Safety posters - A pesticide safety poster must be displayed.
  • Protection during applications - Applicators are prohibited from applying a pesticide in a way that will expose workers or other persons. Workers are excluded from areas while pesticides are being applied.
  • Restricted-entry intervals (REIs) - REIs must be specified on all agricultural plant pesticide product labels. Workers are excluded from entering a pesticide treated area during the restricted entry interval, with only narrow exceptions.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) - PPE must be provided and maintained for handlers and early-entry workers.
  • Notification of workers - Workers must be notified about treated areas so they may avoid inadvertent exposures.
  • Decontamination supplies - Handlers and workers must have an ample supply of water, soap, and towels for routine washing and emergency decontamination.
  • Emergency assistance - Transportation must be made available to a medical care facility if a worker or handler may have been poisoned or injured. Information must be provided about the pesticide to which the person may have been exposed.
  • Access to labeling and site specific information - Handlers and workers must be informed of pesticide label requirements. Central posting of recent pesticide applications is required.

Agricultural Worker Safety Training

To conduct agricultural worker training, you must: currently be a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides; OR currently be designated as a trainer of certified applicators or a trainer of agricultural workers by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), OR have completed a pesticide safety train-the-trainer program approved by IDALS.

Employers need not provide an agricultural worker with WPS safety training if the worker has received WPS worker training within the last 5 years or if the worker currently is trained as a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides.

Train-the-Trainer Online Course

This online course provides agricultural employers with information needed to meet the WPS training requirements for agricultural workers. Completion of this course is one way employers can meet the criteria required to deliver WPS worker training to their employees.

WPS for Vineyard Workers

This document, developed by Mike White, ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist, can be used to prepare vineyard workers to meet the WPS worker training requirements.

WPS Worker Modules

The following WPS modules with accompanying video scripts and quizzes provide the information required for training agricultural workers and early-entry workers. An interactive WPS scenario allows workers to decide the best course of action in a possible exposure situation.

PowerPoint Presentations

The following presentations with accompanying scripts provide the information required for training agricultural workers and early-entry workers. The presentations are essentially the same, but have been adapted for use by specific audiences in the following areas covered under the WPS:

  • WPS Agricultural Worker Safety Training – Field Crops (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Agricultural Worker Safety Training – Forest (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Agricultural Worker Safety Training – Fruit and Vegetables (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Agricultural Worker Safety Training – Greenhouse and Nursery (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Agricultural Worker Safety Training – Vineyard (ppt) (script)

Pesticide Handler Safety Training

To conduct pesticide handler training, you must: currently be a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides; OR currently be designated as a trainer of certified applicators or a trainer of pesticide handlers by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

Employers need not provide a pesticide handler with WPS safety training if the handler has received WPS handler training within the last 5 years or if the handler currently is trained as a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides.

The following presentations with accompanying scripts provide the information required for training pesticide handlers. The presentations are essentially the same, but have been adapted for use by specific audiences in the following areas covered under the WPS:

  • WPS Pesticide Handler Safety Training – Field Crops (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Pesticide Handler Safety Training – Forest (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Pesticide Handler Safety Training – Fruit and Vegetables (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Pesticide Handler Safety Training – Greenhouse and Nursery (ppt) (script)
  • WPS Pesticide Handler Safety Training – Vineyard (ppt) (script)

These projects have been funded by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

 

If you have any problems opening PDF files you may want to update your version of Adobe Acrobat. You can do that by going to the Adobe website.

For more information please contact:
Betsy Buffington
Extension Program Specialist
9 Insectary
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
(515) 294-7293

Page last updated: July 23, 2014