Set The Standard For Worker Protection

The federal Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS) (40 CFR Part 170) was developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and adopted into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in 1992. The standard was fully implemented in 1995 and has been revised since. The WPS Regulation, as well as a listing of recent amendments, is available online. This federal regulation was designed to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. Approximately 2.5 million agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, working at over 600,000 agricultural establishments, are protected by the WPS.

The WPS requires that agricultural employers take the following steps to reduce the risk of injury or illness when agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply pesticides) are exposed to pesticides: 1) provide information about exposure to pesticides; 2) provide protections against exposures to pesticides; and 3) offer ways to mitigate exposures to pesticides. This article summarizes the provisions of WPS and related regulations. A good reference for further detail regarding compliance with the WPS is the EPA publication, “How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need to Know”, available online at

Related Regulations

Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA)

The Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act (FAWSA) (Florida Statute 487.2041), enacted in 2004, gives the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) responsibility for enforcing the WPS in Florida. The FAWSA is intended to ensure that agricultural workers employed in Florida are informed of the risks of pesticide use and receive protection from agricultural pesticides. Specific requirements of the FAWSA include the following:

  • Sellers of agricultural pesticides must provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) in printed or written format (not via CD, website, or email) to the purchaser upon initial purchase of each agricultural product and upon first purchase after an MSDS has been updated.
  • In turn, agricultural employers must then provide farm workers with either an MSDS or fact sheet, containing information about the impacts of the agricultural pesticide and approved by the state or federal government, in written format. The information must be made available to any worker who either: 1) enters an agricultural area where a pesticide has been applied or a restricted-entry interval (REI) has been in effect within the last 30 days; or 2) may be exposed to an agricultural pesticide during normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.
  • The MSDS or fact sheet must be made available to the worker within two working days of request. In the case of a pesticide-related medical emergency, the MSDS or fact sheet must be provided in written format promptly on request by a worker, a designated representative, or medical personnel treating the worker.
  • For the purposes of WPS training, FDACS offers a one-page general agricultural safety sheet they must make available to trainers upon request. The safety sheet must be in a language understood by the worker and must include illustrated instructions on preventing pesticide exposure and the toll free telephone numbers for the Florida Poison Control Centers.
  • The FAWSA prohibits agricultural employers from taking retaliatory action against employees who attempt to exercise their rights under this bill. If an agricultural worker has been subject to retaliatory action, they may file a complaint with FDACS.

Per the FAWSA, the FDACS Bureau of Compliance Monitoring (BCM) performs routine inspections of facilities and operations in which pesticides are used. Inspectors cover the components included in the Pesticide Use inspection report and the WPS inspection form. A pdf of these forms, as well as a FDACS Suggested Pesticide Recordkeeping form are available at Further information from FDACS on the FAWSA is available at

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard Provisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard Provisions require that employers inform their employees, by means of a written Hazard Communication Program, of the dangers of hazardous chemicals manufactured, imported, distributed, stored, or used in the workplace. Additionally, agricultural employers with 11 or more employees (full-time or part-time) at any one time during the previous 12 months are subject to enforcement of OSHA’s Hazard Communication (or Right-to-Know) Standard.

The Hazard Communication Program must specify how the requirements for labeling and other forms of warning, MSDS’s, and employee information and training will be met. The program must also include a list of the hazardous chemicals present in the workplace, the methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards associated with use of these chemicals, and the methods the employer will use to inform contractor employers of the hazards their employees may be exposed to in the workplace.

Hazardous chemical training must be provided to employees at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new hazard is introduced into their work area. Further information on the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard can be found in the “2009 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard [Federal]”, which is available on-line at

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Crop Protection Stories
downy mildew symptoms on basil
Disease ControlRed Lights Slow Down Growth Of Downy Mildew On Basil
July 22, 2015
University of Florida scientists say the technology may help growers manage the disease and reduce chemical inputs. Read More
Bacterial wilt of curcurbits
CucurbitsWin The War Against Bacterial Wilt Of Cucurbits
July 22, 2015
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable disease. Read More
Crop ProtectionRegional Integrated Pest Management Grants Reduced Pest Risks In The West
July 22, 2015
The program created tools and training information designed for Western growers. Read More
Disease ControlStone Fruit Rots Rampant In East
July 21, 2015
The incidents of fruit rots in both sweet and tart cherries and peaches and nectarines are quite high in Pennsylvania Read More
UF/IFAS scientists Edward Evans and Jonathan Crane study diseased avocados in a South Florida grove.
Disease ControlDeadly Disease Cutting Down Florida Avocado Trees Likely To Push Up Prices
July 17, 2015
The economic impacts of laurel wilt disease management costly for domestic producers. Read More
Sweet CornDow AgroSciences Reveals Name Of New Residual Corn Herbicide
July 15, 2015
Dow AgroSciences announced July 14 that its new corn herbicide, previously referred to as GF-3471, will be named Resicore™ herbicide. Read More
Crop ProtectionClue Into Chemigation Best Practices
July 15, 2015
Monitoring performance and quick repairs are critical to successful applications. Read More
The Latest
Bill Stoneman
Crop ProtectionFormer BPIA Head Relishes Challenge Of New Consulting R…
July 28, 2015
JET Harvest Solutions taps Bill Stoneman for his bounty of biocontrol experience. Read More
Crop ProtectionRegional Integrated Pest Management Grants Reduced Pest…
July 22, 2015
The program created tools and training information designed for Western growers. Read More
Crop ProtectionClue Into Chemigation Best Practices
July 15, 2015
Monitoring performance and quick repairs are critical to successful applications. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Egg Cage System Could Increase Ladybug’s Bioc…
July 13, 2015
A specialized insect cage system developed by USDA scientists could improve the prospects of mass rearing the pink spotted lady Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Call For Nominations For “SOAR” Award
July 10, 2015
The IR-4 Project, a resource that supplies pest management tools for specialty crop growers by developing research data to support Read More
Crop ProtectionEarly Blight And Septoria Leaf Spot Rampant On Pennsylv…
July 8, 2015
According to a news release from Penn State University, early blight and Septoria leaf spot are present in Pennsylvania tomato Read More
Crop ProtectionDowny Mildew Reported In Ohio Cucumber Fields
July 8, 2015
According to a disease update from Ohio State University Extension, downy mildew was reported in cucumbers on farms in West Read More
Crop ProtectionZeal SC Miticide Now Registered With Liquid Formulation
June 26, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation announced that Zeal SC Miticide has been registered by the EPA with a new liquid formulation that Read More
Crop ProtectionStay A Step Ahead Of Weeds
June 26, 2015
Weed control can be a tricky and costly task made all the more difficult by herbicide resistance and the push Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS …
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
Crop ProtectionDowny Mildew Makes Early Appearance In Michigan Cucumbe…
June 23, 2015
An alert sent by Michigan State University (MSU) Extension confirms the presence of downy mildew on cucumber leaves in Michigan. Read More
BerriesCaptan Gold 4L Fungicide Now Registered In California
June 16, 2015
ADAMA has received EPA approval for Captan Gold 4L liquid fungicide for use on strawberries, tree fruits, and other specialty Read More
infrared image showing the difference between using crop termination fumigation in the field and not
Crop ProtectionMaximizing Nematode Management In Vegetables
June 12, 2015
Crop termination is the foundation of mitigating the soil pests for the following season. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Chart Helps Growers Choose The Best Cover Crop
June 9, 2015
USDA scientists have developed a Cover Crop Chart that helps growers determine the best cover crop to meet their management Read More
Bagrada bug
Crop ProtectionBagrada Bug Has The Potential To Spread Throughout The …
June 9, 2015
The bagrada bug has moved into South Texas and has the potential to move to other areas of the U.S., Read More
Guava Fruit Fly specimen
CitrusLos Angeles County Under Quarantine Following Guava Fru…
June 9, 2015
A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the guava fruit fly (GFF) following the detection Read More
CitrusNealta Miticide Receives Registration In California
June 2, 2015
Nealta miticide from BASF has received registration for use in California. Nealta delivers long-lasting control of spider mites at all Read More
Crop ProtectionSmall Parasite May Contribute To Declines In Honey Bee …
June 2, 2015
A single-celled parasite may be infecting bee larvae. Read More