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
Disease ControlWebcast: Control High Tunnel Tomato Diseases
April 13, 2015
As part of a series of free educational webcasts on The Plant Management Network, a nonprofit online resource for researchers, Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
NutsPart 1: Spring Weed Management Tips For Almonds
April 8, 2015
Avoid common weed management mistakes to ensure optimum weed control in the orchard. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Outdoor Uses
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Bagrada bug
Insect Control7 Things You Need To Know About The Bagrada Bug
April 2, 2015
Bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris), a species of stink bug also known as “painted bug,” is a major concern on vegetables, Read More
blue orchard bee
Integrated Pest ManagementBlue Orchard Bee Shows Promise As An Alternative Pollinator In Almonds
March 30, 2015
The native bee Osmia lignaria could soon be a valuable piece of the pollinator mix, especially for smaller almond growers. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
The Latest
Crop ProtectionMore Help Needed To Track Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, …
April 14, 2015
This pest, a problem in apples, tomatoes, and other fruit in the North, has recently moved into Georgia.    Read More
Crop ProtectionIR-4 Announces Pest Management Solutions Workshop
April 8, 2015
The IR-4 Project announced their first Global Minor Use Priority Setting Workshop Sept. 20-22 in Chicago, IL. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
Giant African Land Snail
CitrusFlorida To Get $7.3 Million To Fight Agricultural Pests…
March 19, 2015
Federal Farm Bill funding will bolster surveillance, detection, and identification of invasive threats to crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Fungicide, Orondis, Announced By Syngenta
March 18, 2015
The fungicide provides protection against late blight, downy mildews, and Phytophthora root and stem blights. Read More
Crop ProtectionNimitz Nematicide Receives Registration In California
March 16, 2015
The product is now approved in California for use on a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Crop ProtectionNufarm Announces Two New Fungicide Registrations For Sp…
March 13, 2015
Both 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use on greenhouse vegetables and backyard fruit. Read More
Crop ProtectionStudy Shows Plants Can Tell Difference Between Attackin…
March 9, 2015
Scientists at the University of Missouri make a discovery that will allow plant breeders to target insect species when developing crops. Read More
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference &…
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionSurvey Shows Growers Seek New Strategies To Control Thr…
March 4, 2015
Growers surveyed at the 2015 Southeast Regional Fruit And Vegetable Conference list thrips as major pest concern, and are looking for new technologies to combat pests. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
Crop ProtectionFMC Launches Biological Fungicide With New Mode Of Acti…
February 18, 2015
The broad spectrum fungicide, Fracture, is labeled for prevention and control of powdery mildew, botrytis, and brown rot blossom blight. Read More
David Holden
CitrusBiopesticides, Biostimulants Show Results In Fruits And…
February 18, 2015
From biostimulants in celery and avocado to biopesticides in citrus and strawberries, consultant David Holden conducts in-the-field research that attests to the effectiveness of biocontrols. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionNew Conference Helps You Incorporate Biocontrols
February 10, 2015
How well do you know biocontrol? The first-ever Biocontrols Conference & Tradeshow is ready to help. Read More