Who and What Are Covered?The Worker Protection Standard protects employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposure to agricultural pesticides. The regulation covers two types of employees:
Pesticide handlers--those who mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides; clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or assist with the application of pesticides in any way.
Agricultural workers--those who perform tasks related to the cultivation and harvesting of plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries, or forests. Workers include anyone employed for any type of compensation (including self-employed) doing tasks, such as carrying nursery stock, repotting plants, or watering, related to the production of agricultural plants on an agricultural establishment.
Workers do NOT include such employees as office employees, truck drivers, mechanics, and any other workers not engaged in worker/handler activities. Some requirements do, however, apply to all persons; and some requirements apply to anyone who handles pesticide application equipment or cleans or launders pesticide-contaminated personal protective equipment.
The WPS does not apply when pesticides are applied on an agricultural establishment in the following circumstances:
- For mosquito abatement, Mediterranean fruit fly eradication, or similar wide-area public pest control programs sponsored by governmental entities. The WPS does apply to cooperative programs in which the growers themselves make or arrange for pesticide applications.
- On livestock or other animals, or in or about animal premises.
- On plants grown for other than commercial or research purposes, which may include plants in habitations, home fruit and vegetable gardens, and home greenhouses.
- On plants that are in ornamental gardens, parks, and public or private lawns and grounds that are intended only for aesthetic purposes or climatic modification.
- By injection directly into agricultural plants. Direct injection does not include "hack and squirt," "frill and spray," chemigation, soil-incorporation, or soil-injection.
- In a manner not directly related to the production of agricultural plants, such as structural pest control, control of vegetation along rights-of-way and in other noncrop areas, and pasture and rangeland use.
- For control of vertebrate pests.
- As attractants or repellents in traps.
- On the harvested portions of agricultural plants or on harvested timber.
- For research uses of unregistered pesticides.
For more information on the scope of the WPS, consult the regulation.