Jump to main content.


Ag Center Fact Sheet

EPA 305-F-98-029
September 1998
The National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center

WPS - Pesticide Handler Definition

Definition of a Pesticide Handler

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.

By explaining what types of workers are considered "pesticide handlers" under this regulation, this fact sheet will help you understand who you must legally provide protections for.

Who is a handler?

A pesticide handler is anyone who:

Who is not a handler?

A person is NOT a handler if he or she only handles pesticide containers that have been emptied or cleaned according to instructions on pesticide product labeling or, if the labeling has no such instructions, have been triple-rinsed or cleaned by an equivalent method, such as pressure rinsing.

A person is NOT a handler if he or she (1) is ONLY handling pesticide containers that are unopened AND (2) is NOT, at the same time, also doing any handling task (such as mixing or loading).


  1. You ARE a handler if you are loading unopened water-soluble packets into a mixing tank (because you are mixing and loading the pesticide).
  2. You are NOT a handler if you:
    • purchase pesticides and transport them unopened to an establishment.
    • carry unopened containers into a pesticide storage facility.
    • transport unopened containers to the site where they are to be mixed, loaded, or applied.

Certified applicators

Handlers who are currently certified as applicators of restricted-use pesticides must be given all of the WPS handler protections, except that they need not receive WPS training.

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

This page is sponsored by EPA's Ag Center. Ag Center logo

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.