Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

 

  • 2015 Revisions

  • 2016 Training

  • 2017 Training

  • 2018 Training

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). The WPS applies whenever a pesticide is used in the production of agricultural plants that has an “Agricultural Use Requirements” section on the product label. The rule protects primarily workers (people employed to perform work activities related to the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people employed to mix, load, or apply pesticides for use on agricultural establishments in the production of agricultural plants).


On November 2, 2015, EPA revised the WPS, making significant changes to the rule’s requirements. To accomplish this, EPA added the new revisions to the end of the existing regulation. Implementation of the revised rules are staggered over 3 years: 2016, 2017, and 2018. Until 2017 the existing regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) will remain in effect with no changes. Compliance with most of the revised rule requirements (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) is effective beginning January 2, 2017.

2015 Revised WPS Compliance Timeline

DateCompliance
January 2, 2016 Revised WPS final rule is effective. Compliance of existing WPS rules (Subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) is required
January 2, 2017 Compliance is required with MOST of the revised WPS regulation (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170)
January 2, 2018

Compliance is required with ALL of the revised WPS requirements (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170)

  • Including new content on pesticide safety information display (170.311(a)(3))
  • Covering new content in worker and handler training (170.401(c)(3) and  170.501(c)(3))
  • Suspension of applications by handlers if anyone is in the application exclusion zone (170.505(b))

A table summarizing the key provisions in EPA’s current WPS regulation and the 2015 revisions is available at: http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/worker-protection-standard-wps-comparison-chart.

2016 Training Requirements and Resources

Training requirements and materials for the existing WPS regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) remain in effect with no changes through 2016.

Trainer Requirements

Training must be done every 5 years unless the worker or handler is currently a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides. Workers and handlers are allowed a brief 5-point training prior to entering a treated area and delayed full pesticide safety training for up to 5 days (grace period).

To conduct safety 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 workers or handlers by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

Worker Training

The pesticide safety training for workers under existing WPS regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) must include all of the following as of January 2, 2016:

  • Where and in what form pesticides may be encountered during work activities.
  • Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including: acute and chronic effects; delayed effects; and sensitization.
  • Routes through which pesticides can enter the body.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • How to obtain emergency medical care.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures including emergency eye flushing techniques.
  • Hazards from chemigation and drift.
  • Hazards from pesticide residues on clothing.
  • Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.
  • Requirements of the WPS designed to reduce the risks of illness or injury resulting from workers’ occupational exposure to pesticides, including: application and entry restrictions; the design of the warning sign; posting of warning signs, oral warnings; the availability of specific information about applications; and the protection against retaliatory acts.

Handler Training

The pesticide safety training for handlers under existing WPS regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) must include all of the following as of January 2, 2016:

  • Format and meaning of information contained on pesticide labels and in labeling, including safety information such as precautionary statements about human health hazards.
  • Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.
  • Routes by which pesticides can enter the body.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • How to obtain emergency medical care.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures.
  • Need for and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
  • Prevention, recognition, and first aid treatment of heat-related illness.
  • Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.
  • Environmental concerns such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.
  • Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.
Requirements that must be followed by handler employers for the protection of handlers and other persons, including the prohibition against applying pesticides in a manner that will cause contact with workers or other persons, the requirement to use personal protective equipment, the provisions for training and decontamination, and the protection against retaliatory acts.

Trainer Resources

These projects have been funded by the IDALS through a grant from the U.S. EPA. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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2017 Training Requirements and Resources

ALL of the WPS requirements in the revised final rule (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) will become enforceable on January 2, 2017, EXCEPT:

  • Including new content on pesticide safety information display (170.311(a)(3))
  • Covering new content in worker and handler training (170.401(c)(3) and  170.501(c)(3))
  • Suspension of applications by handlers if anyone is in the application exclusion zone (170.505(b)  

The existing WPS regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) will expire on and will no longer be effective after January 2, 2017.

Training Requirements

Beginning January 2, 2017, all workers and handlers are required to be trained on a yearly-basis. Before any worker or handler enters a pesticide-treated area on an agricultural establishment for any length of time, they need to receive the pesticide safety training (no grace period).
Under the revised WPS there will be no grandfathering of training that was acquired in 2016 or before.

  •  If a worker or handler was trained in 2016, they will need to receive WPS training within 1 year of the 2016 training. This training will not need to include the 2018 training content. For example, a worker trained on April 14, 2016 will need to be retrained prior to April 14, 2017.
  • If a worker or handler was not trained in 2016, they would have to be trained before they do any worker or handler tasks.

To conduct safety training, you must be a certified applicator of restricted use pesticides, have completed a Train-the-Trainer program approved by EPA, or be an IDALS designated trainer. NOTE: After January 2, 2017, persons who have only been trained as WPS pesticide handlers will no longer be qualified to train workers.

Yearly training records for each handler and each worker must now be kept for 2 years. If a worker or handler requests those training records, you must provide it to them upon request.

Worker Training

The pesticide safety training for workers under the revised WPS (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) must be presented either orally from written materials or audio-visually, at a location that is reasonably free from distraction and conducive to training. All training materials must be EPA-approved. The training must be presented in a manner that the workers can understand, such as through a translator. The worker trainer must be present during the entire training program and must respond to workers' questions.
The training must include, at a minimum, all of the following after January 2, 2017:

  • Where and in what form pesticides may be encountered during work activities.
  • Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.
  • Routes through which pesticides can enter the body.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • How to obtain emergency medical care.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye flushing techniques.
  • Hazards from chemigation and drift.
  • Hazards from pesticide residues on clothing.
  • Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.
  • Requirements designed to reduce the risks of illness or injury resulting from workers' occupational exposure to pesticides, including application and entry restrictions, the design of the warning sign, posting of warning signs, oral warnings, the availability of specific information about applications, and the protection against retaliatory acts

Handler Training

The pesticide safety training for handlers under the revised WPS (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) must be presented either orally from written materials or audio-visually, at a location that is reasonably free from distraction and conducive to training. All training materials must be EPA-approved. The training must be presented in a manner that the handlers can understand, such as through a translator. The handler trainer must be present during the entire training program and must respond to handlers' questions.

The training must include, at a minimum, all of the following after January 2, 2017:

  • Format and meaning of information contained on pesticide labels and in labeling, including safety information such as precautionary statements about human health hazards.
  • Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.
  • Routes by which pesticides can enter the body.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • How to obtain emergency medical care.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures.
  • Need for and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
  • Prevention, recognition, and first aid treatment of heat-related illness.
  • Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.
  • Environmental concerns such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.
  • Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.
  • Requirements that must be followed by handler employers for the protection of handlers and other persons, including the prohibition against applying pesticides in a manner that will cause contact with workers or other persons, the requirement to use personal protective equipment, the provisions for training and decontamination, and the protection against retaliatory acts.

Training Resources

Training resources will be added as they are developed and available from EPA.

 

Training Requirements and Resources for 2018 and Beyond

The following requirements are enforceable January 2, 2018:

  • Including new content on pesticide safety information display (170.311(a)(3))
  • Covering new content in worker and handler training (170.401(c)(3) and  170.501(c)(3))
  • Suspension of applications by handlers if anyone is in the application exclusion zone (170.505(b)    

All other training requirements (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) are the same as 2017.

Training Requirements

Starting January 2, 2018, workers and handlers will not be considered “trained” unless they have been trained according to the new training content requirements of the revised WPS rule (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170).

Worker Training

The pesticide safety training for workers under the revised WPS (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) must be presented either orally from written materials or audio-visually, at a location that is reasonably free from distraction and conducive to training. All training materials must be EPA-approved. The training must be presented in a manner that the workers can understand, such as through a translator. The worker trainer must be present during the entire training program and must respond to workers' questions.
The training must include, at a minimum, all of the following after January 2, 2018:

  • The responsibility of agricultural employers to provide workers and handlers with information and protections designed to reduce work-related pesticide exposures and illnesses. This includes ensuring workers and handlers have been trained on pesticide safety, providing pesticide safety and application and hazard information, decontamination supplies and emergency medical assistance, and notifying workers of restrictions during applications and on entering pesticide treated areas. A worker or handler may designate in writing a representative to request access to pesticide application and hazard information.
  • How to recognize and understand the meaning of the posted warning signs used for notifying workers of restrictions on entering pesticide treated areas on the establishment.
  • How to follow directions and/or signs about keeping out of pesticide treated areas subject to a restricted-entry interval and application exclusion zones.
  • Where and in what forms pesticides may be encountered during work activities, and potential sources of pesticide exposure on the agricultural establishment. This includes exposure to pesticide residues that may be on or in plants, soil, tractors, application and chemigation equipment, or used personal protective equipment, and that pesticides may drift through the air from nearby applications or be in irrigation water.
  • Potential hazards from toxicity and exposure that pesticides present to workers and their families, including acute and chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.
  • Routes through which pesticides can enter the body.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye flushing techniques, and if pesticides are spilled or sprayed on the body to use decontamination supplies to wash immediately or rinse off in the nearest clean water, including springs, streams, lakes or other sources if more readily available than decontamination supplies, and as soon as possible, wash or shower with soap and water, shampoo hair, and change into clean clothes.
  • How and when to obtain emergency medical care.
  • When working in pesticide treated areas, wear work clothing that protects the body from pesticide residues and wash hands before eating, drinking, using chewing gum or tobacco, or using the toilet.
  • Wash or shower with soap and water, shampoo hair, and change into clean clothes as soon as possible after working in pesticide treated areas.
  • Potential hazards from pesticide residues on clothing.
  • Wash work clothes before wearing them again and wash them separately from other clothes.
  • Do not take pesticides or pesticide containers used at work to your home.
  • Safety data sheets provide hazard, emergency medical treatment and other information about the pesticides used on the establishment they may come in contact with. The responsibility of agricultural employers to do all of the following:
    • Display safety data sheets for all pesticides used on the establishment.
    • Provide workers and handlers information about the location of the safety data sheets on the establishment.
    • Provide workers and handlers unimpeded access to safety data sheets during normal work hours.
  • The rule prohibits agricultural employers from allowing or directing any worker to mix, load or apply pesticides or assist in the application of pesticides unless the worker has been trained as a handler.
  • The responsibility of agricultural employers to provide specific information to workers before directing them to perform early-entry activities. Workers must be 18 years old to perform early-entry activities.
  • Potential hazards to children and pregnant women from pesticide exposure.
  • Keep children and nonworking family members away from pesticide treated areas.
  • After working in pesticide treated areas, remove work boots or shoes before entering your home, and remove work clothes and wash or shower before physical contact with children or family members.
  • How to report suspected pesticide use violations to the State or Tribal agency responsible for pesticide enforcement.
  • The rule prohibits agricultural employers from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any worker or handler for complying with or attempting to comply with the requirements of this rule, or because the worker or handler provided, caused to be provided or is about to provide information to the employer or the EPA or its agents regarding conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates this part, and/or made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning compliance with this rule.

Handler Training

The pesticide safety training for handlers under the revised WPS (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) must be presented either orally from written materials or audio-visually, at a location that is reasonably free from distraction and conducive to training. All training materials must be EPA-approved. The training must be presented in a manner that the handlers can understand, such as through a translator. The handler trainer must be present during the entire training program and must respond to handlers' questions.
The training must include all of the training points/topics for workers PLUS the following after January 2, 2018:

  • Information on proper application and use of pesticides.
  • Handlers must follow the portions of the labeling applicable to the safe use of the pesticide.
  • Format and meaning of information contained on pesticide labels and in labeling applicable to the safe use of the pesticide.
  • Need for and appropriate use and removal of all personal protective equipment.
  • How to recognize, prevent, and provide first aid treatment for heat-related illness.
  • Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.
  • Environmental concerns, such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.
  • Handlers must not apply pesticides in a manner that results in contact with workers or other persons.
  • The responsibility of handler employers to provide handlers with information and protections designed to reduce work-related pesticide exposures and illnesses. This includes providing, cleaning, maintaining, storing, and ensuring proper use of all required personal protective equipment; providing decontamination supplies; and providing specific information about pesticide use and labeling information.
  • Handlers must suspend a pesticide application if workers or other persons are in the application exclusion zone.
  • Handlers must be at least 18 years old.
  • The responsibility of handler employers to ensure handlers have received respirator fit-testing, training and medical evaluation if they are required to wear a respirator by the product labeling.
  • The responsibility of agricultural employers to post treated areas as required by this rule.

Training Resources

Training resources will be added as they are developed and available from EPA.

For more information please contact:
Betsy Buffington
Extension Program Specialist
9 Insectary Building
2311 Pammel Drive
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
(515) 294-7293

Page last updated: May 3, 2016