Worker Protection Standards (WPS) for Agricultural Pesticides

Key Features

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS), on November 2, 2015. The WPS revisions are intended to decrease the pesticide exposure incidents among farmworkers and their family members. The WPS is designed to protect employees of farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposure to agricultural pesticides.

Most of the revised WPS requirements became effective on January 2, 2017. Three requirements go into effect on January 2, 2019:

  1. Pesticide safety training must cover the expanded content;
  2. Pesticide safety information (posters) must meet the revised standards;
  3. Handlers must suspend applications if workers or other people are in the application exclusion zone.

Pesticide handlers-Those who mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides; clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or assist with the application of pesticides.

Agricultural workers-Those who perform tasks related to growing and harvesting plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries, or forests for any type of compensation.

Pesticide Products Covered by the WPS

The WPS covers nearly all pesticide products used to produce plants commercially, including pesticides used on soil and potting media. It also covers restricted-use and general-use products. WPS provisions are intended to:

  1. Minimize worker exposure to pesticides
  2. Mitigate any exposures
  3. Inform employees about the hazards of pesticides

The new revisions of the Worker Protection Standard are very extensive and detailed. An EPA funded "Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative" PERC has all of the information on the new Standard. It is recommended that everyone visit the PERC website to obtain training materials and WPS Handouts, such as the Quick Reference Guide, Checklists for Employers, and Compliance Requirement Schedule.

See also-Quick Reference Guide to Worker Protection Standard (WPS) as Revised in 2015 (pages 6-9-6-10)

More Information on the Worker Protection Standard

EPA Worker Protection Standard website:


Luis Urias

Idaho State Department of Agriculture

Division of Agricultural Resources, Boise



Oregon Department of Agriculture

Pesticides Division



Washington Department of Agriculture Pest Management Division

PO Box 42589

Olympia, WA 98504


Information is also available from your local Extension educator.