The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enforced by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Pesticide Services. It covers pesticides that are used in the production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. WPS requires that you take steps to reduce the risk of pesticide-related illness and injury if you 1) use pesticides, or 2) employ workers or pesticide handlers who are exposed to such pesticides.
If you are an agricultural pesticide user and/or an employer of agricultural workers or pesticide handlers, the WPS requires you to provide to your employees and, in some cases, to yourself and others:
- Information about exposure to pesticides;
- Protections against exposures to pesticides, and;
- Ways to mitigate exposures to pesticides.
You need this information if:
- You own or manage a farm, forest, nursery, or greenhouse where pesticides are used in the production of agricultural plants;
- You hire or contract for services of agricultural workers to do tasks related to the production of agricultural plants on a farm, forest, nursery or greenhouse (this includes labor contractors and others who contract with growers to supply agricultural laborers);
- You operate a business in which you (or the people you employ) apply pesticides that are used for the production of agricultural plants on any farm, forest, nursery or greenhouse;
- You operate a business in which you (or the people you employ) perform tasks as a crop advisor on any farm, forest, nursery or greenhouse.
If you are in any of these categories, you must comply with the Worker Protection Standard (40 CFR Part 170). For information on the Worker Protection Standard, please visit the EPA's Web site.
To further assist you, the Office of Pesticide Services has developed a Summary Guide for the EPA Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides. This guide is designed to summarize the EPA Worker Protection Standard Requirements and provides sample forms and guidance documents developed by OPS to assist growers with compliance. Click here for a copy of this guide.
Worker Protection Standard Training Available
Under an agreement with VDACS, Telamon, Inc. offers FREE WPS training in English and Spanish for employers anywhere in Virginia. For more information contact Roberto Quintero at Telamon's Richmond Office at 804.381.6082 or by email at: email@example.com.
Worker Protection Standard Information at a Central Location
One of the more common violations VDACS has seen while doing recent WPS inspections is the requirement for "Information at a Central Location". WPS requires that you establish a location giving your employees unrestricted access. This might be the break room, the shop area where they receive instructions for the day, or a bulletin board by the time clock or office. The following items must all be displayed:
- EPA Pesticide Safety Poster or you can make your own poster following the guidelines in the EPA WPS How to Comply manual.
- The name, address, and phone number of the nearest medical facility. You can put this information on the EPA safety poster or use a separate sign.
- Information about all of the pesticide applications done at your establishment. There is no required form or format for this information, however you must record, in some manner:
- The location and description of the area to be treated
- Product name
- EPA registration number
- Active ingredient(s) of the pesticide
- Time and date the pesticide is scheduled to be applied
- Restricted entry interval (REI) for the pesticide
This information must be displayed for 30 days after the restricted entry interval, or if there is no REI, 30 days after the application. We encourage you to sit down with the How to Comply Manual and the information above and review the WPS requirements.
Worker Protection Standard Questions and Answers
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed Interpretative Policies to address specific questions related to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requirements found in 40 CFR Parts 156 & 170.
Who and What are Covered?
1996 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard 40 CFR Parts 156 & 170 Interpretive Policy Questions and Answers
2004 Final Interpretative Guidance Workgroup (IGW) Questions and Answers
If you have further questions about the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) contact Micah Raub by phone at 804.786.4845 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.