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Ag Center Fact Sheet

EPA 305-F-98-023
September 1998
The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center

WPS - Equipment Safety

Equipment Safety

The Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 and amended in 1995. It covers pesticides that are used in the production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses.  The WPS requires you to take steps to reduce the risk of pesticide-related illness and injury if you (1) use such pesticides, or (2) employ workers or pesticide handlers who are exposed to such pesticides.

This fact sheet will help you understand how to comply with WPS requirements for protecting people from pesticide exposure caused by faulty or contaminated equipment.

Equipment inspection

You must make sure that equipment used for mixing, loading, transferring, or applying pesticides (pesticide handling equipment) is inspected and repaired. You must inspect pesticide handling equipment before each day of use for leaks, clogging, and worn or damaged parts. You must repair or replace any damaged equipment.

Protecting persons who maintain equipment

You must make sure that persons repairing, cleaning, or adjusting pesticide handling equipment are protected or informed. You must remove pesticide residues from pesticide handling equipment before anyone other than an appropriately trained and equipped handler is allowed to repair, clean, or adjust it.

EXCEPTION: If it is not feasible to remove pesticide residues from pesticide handling equipment, AND the people who will be repairing, cleaning, or adjusting the equipment are not your employees (and, therefore, are not handlers for whom you are responsible under the WPS), you must inform them

The example below is all the information you need to provide to persons who are not your employees and are not trained as pesticide handlers. Although the WPS does not require you to provide this information in written form, you may find that using photocopies of this sheet is a convenient way to make sure you convey all the necessary information.

Information for Persons Working on Pesticide Equipment

The equipment you will be cleaning, adjusting, or repairing may have pesticides on it. Although you may not be able to see or smell the pesticides, they can rub off on you when you touch the equipment.

  1. If pesticides get on you, they can hurt you. They can:

    - cause skin rashes or burns,

    - go through your skin and into your body and make you ill,

    - burn your eyes,

    - make you ill if you get them in your mouth.

  2. You should wear work clothing that protects your body from pesticide residues, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks. If possible, avoid touching the parts of the equipment where the pesticide is most likely to be. Or, if practical for the job that you will be doing, consider wearing rubber or plastic gloves and an apron.

  3. You should not let pesticides stay on your hands:
  4. - Wash your hands as soon as you finish handling the equipment.

    - Wash your hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco, or using the toilet.

    - Wash or shower with soap and water, shampoo your hair, and put on clean clothes after work.

    - Wash work clothes that may have pesticides on them separately from other clothes before wearing them again.

For more information

To get more facts about compliance, contact the Ag Center by phone, fax, or mail.  Call the toll-free number to ask compliance questions or order publications.  At the Ag Center's Web site you can explore compliance information and order or download publications.  For a complete publications list, request document 10001, "Ag Center Publications."

The Ag Center welcomes comments on this document and its other services.

National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center
901 North Fifth Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
Toll-free: 1-888-663-2155
Internet: www.epa.gov/agriculture

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