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Worker Protection Standard Compliance Monitoring Program

FIFRA Topics

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect agricultural workers from the effects of exposure to pesticides. It covers pesticides that are used in the production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. The WPS offers protections to over three and a half million people who work with pesticides at over 560,000 workplaces. The scope of the regulation includes both workers performing in areas treated with pesticides and those who handle (mix, load, apply, etc.) pesticides in these locations.

Agricultural establishments are defined by 40 CFR § 170.3, as farms, nurseries, greenhouses, and forests. Routine WPS agricultural inspections are conducted at agricultural establishments to ensure users of pesticides subject to WPS comply with requirements of product label(s) by examining practices of agricultural and handler employers and their employees to ensure that they are in compliance with:

  1. product-specific WPS requirements as prescribed on pesticide product labeling [personal protective equipment (PPE), Restricted Entry Intervals (REIs), and oral and posted warnings used on the establishment] and;
  2. generic WPS requirements incorporated by the reference statement that appears on the labeling (pesticide safety information, decontamination supplies, safety training, emergency assistance, and worker notification).

The goals in conducting WPS agricultural inspections include:

WPS inspections should be performed during the significant periods of the agricultural production season, such as:

Noncompliance with WPS may result in pesticide violations—specifically, FIFRA § 12(a)(2)(G) and defined by FIFRA § 2(ee), whereby it is unlawful for any person “to use any registered pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”

The WPS Agriculture Inspection Guidance (PDF) (42 pp, 682KB) provide useful information to inspectors on how to conduct thorough and nationally consistent agricultural inspections under EPA’s WPS that are also in conformance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Accomplishments and Violations Reports

EPA provides guidelines on reporting WPS compliance monitoring and enforcement activities conducted under the its Cooperative Agreement program. States and tribes are required to report specific information on WPS agriculture use inspections and enforcement actions.

EPA provides a national view on the implementation status of the WPS program in the annual Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Inspection and Enforcement Accomplishments Reports. The data is submitted by states and tribes or regional program staff in instances where EPA manages the WPS program. Violations on the ten specific WPS violation categories that each enforcement action covered is also included. The data on WPS violation categories provides information for inspection targeting and for directing training to areas of the WPS rule most frequently violated.

Accomplishment Report

The WPS report shows:

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Violations Report

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