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Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides

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WPS Fact Sheets and Publications

New!Proposed Changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Rule

EPA’s Current Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a regulation published in 1992 that is aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The current WPS offers occupational protections to over 2 million agricultural worke rs (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply crop pesticides) that work at over 600,000 agricultural establishments (farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses). The WPS requires that owners and employers on agricultural establishments provide protections to workers and handlers from potential pesticide exposure, train them about pesticide safety, and provide mitigations in case exposures may occur.

Related topics
Health and Safety

Related publications from the Ag Center
Worker Protection Standard
Health and Safety
How To Comply With the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides

How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need to Know - Revised 2005

The Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides How to Comply Manual has been updated to reflect amendments to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), a regulation designed to protect agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The new 2005 WPS How to Comply (HTC) Manual supersedes the 1993 version. Changes to the WPS since 1993 have made the earlier version obsolete, and its continued use may lead an employer to be out of compliance. The 2005 HTC Manual revision was coordinated by EPA's National Agricultural Compliance Assistance Center and a workgroup consisting of representatives from EPA Headquarters, EPA Regional Offices, and several state agencies, with input solicited from USDA and other state and tribal pesticide agencies.

Related publications from the Ag Center
How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides, Revised 2005

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Avoiding Heat Stress

The WPS requires employers to take any necessary steps to prevent heat illness (too much heat stress) while personal protective equipment is being worn. Employers can take many precautions against heat stress. Some of them are summarized here:

More details on all these measures are included in EPA's "A Guide to Heat Stress in Agriculture," May 1993, available from farm supply companies and from the U.S. Government Printing Office using document number 055-000-00474-9. Issued jointly by EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the guide offers practical, step-by-step guidance for nontechnical managers on how to set up and operate a heat stress control program.

Related publications from the Ag Center
Worker Protection Standard

More information from EPA
Heat Stress

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Additional WPS Resources

Related publications from the Ag Center
Ag Center's WPS Fact Sheets
Worker Protection Standard publications
EPA Office of Pesticide Programs - Worker Protection Pesticide Safety Materials

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

Related enforcement on WPS
Ag-related Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Enforcement Cases
WPS Compliance Monitoring Program

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Exit EPA
EPA Pesticide Programs Regulation (40 CFR Part 156)
EPA Pesticide Programs Regulation (40 CFR Part 170) - Worker Protection Standard Rule

Entry restrictions
Early Entry Requirements
Exception for Irrigation Activities
Exception for Limited Contact Activities

Interpretation and guidance
WPS Interpretive Policy Document - This document addresses questions on the WPS regulations (40 CFR parts 156 and 170) that were posed to the Agency by the EPA Regional Offices, State Lead Pesticide Agencies, and the public.
The Worker Protection Standard - How to Comply Manual, What Employers Need to Know
North Dakota State University Extension Service and Ag Experiment Station - WPS Video Presentations Online Exit EPA
(You will need Windows Media Player 12 Exit EPA or higher to view the videos, or you will need to download and install the latest Windows Media codec Exit EPA for your current operating system and player.)

More information from EPA
Protecting Workers
Norma de Protection para el Trabajador: Principios Basicos (Basic Principals in Spanish)
Personal Protective Equipment
Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings
Protections for Test Subjects in Human Research
National Assessment of the Pesticide Worker Safety Program
FIFRA State and Tribal Assistance Grant Program
Field Component of the National Pesticide Program - the pesticide field program helps protect agricultural workers and provides certification and training for users of some of the more hazardous pesticides to enhance competence and insure safe use.
Lo que se debe y no se debe hacer en el control de plagas (Dos and Don'ts of Pest Control in Spanish)
Uso seguro de los pesticidas (Using Pesticides Safely in Spanish)
Pesticide Registration Notice Informing Pesticide Registrants, Applicants About Task Force To Develop Exposure Data for Agricultural Handlers
November 9, 2011 News Story: New Occupational Pesticide Exposure Data

More information from the states
EZregs Exit EPA - University of Illinois Extension Web site that identifies environmental regulations pertaining to specific agricultural and horticultural operations and practices in Illinois.
Florida Agricultural Worker Protection Act - text, scroll to pages 59-68 (PDF)
(68 pp, 180K) Exit EPA
State Pesticide Programs
State Pesticide Newsletters

More information from universities Exit EPA
University of California Extension - Spanish Dictionary of Agriculture & HR Management
University of Maine Cooperative Extension - Laundering Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing
North Dakota State University Extension Service - Guidelines for Safely Laundering Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing
Ohio State University Extension - Pesticide-Contaminated Clothing Needs Washing Care

More information from other organizations Exit EPA
American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators (AAPSE)
Association of American Pest Control Officials (AAPCO)
The Farmworker Support Committee/El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA)
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP)

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