An Introduction to the Federal Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Employees
On August 13, 1992, the US EPA promulgated the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The regulation protects agricultural employees who work in or on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses from risk due to occupational exposure to pesticides or pesticide residue.
Purpose of the WPS
The WPS sets out required work place practices that are intended to do three things:
- Eliminate or reduce employee exposure to pesticides
- Mitigate exposures that occur
- Inform employees about the hazards of pesticides
Applicability of the WPS
The WPS applies to the working conditions of two types of employees (including student labor and work-study student employees):
- pesticide handlers - those who handle agricultural pesticides (mix, load, apply, clean or repair equipment, act as flaggers or crop advisors, or perform other tasks involving direct contact with pesticides)
- agricultural workers - those who perform tasks related to the cultivation and harvesting of plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries or forests.
The WPS applies to farms, forests, nurseries or greenhouses where pesticides are used in the production of agricultural plants (plants
grown or maintained for commercial or research purposes including food, feed and fiber plants, trees, turf grass, flowers, shrubs, ornamentals and seedlings).
The WPS does not apply to the following uses:
- government-sponsored public pest control including mosquito control
- on livestock and other animals
- on plants grown for other than commercial or research purposes (e.g., home gardens and greenhouses)
- on ornamental plants in parks, lawns & grounds (including commercial lawn care)
- uses not directly related to agricultural plant production such as structural, right-of-way, pasture and rangeland applications
- control of vertebrate pests
- as attractants or repellents in traps
- on harvested portions of plants or timber
- research uses of unregistered pesticides
To schedule Worker Protection Standard training, contact theDepartment of Environmental Health & Safety
NOTE: By law, employees covered under the WPS must receive training prior to or within 5 days of employment. The training certifies an individual for five years. Certificates of training are kept at UConn's Department of Environmental Health & Safety; copies are sent to the employee's department.
For more information regarding the WPS, visit the EPA WPS website, or contact the following
Connecticut DEP-approved EPA trainers:
Occupational Health & Safety Manager,EH&S
Agronomy Research Farm Manager, Plant Science
Plant Growth Facilities Manager, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology