The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intended to protect people from occupational exposure to pesticides used in the production of agricultural plants (on farms, greenhouses, nurseries and forests).

The WPS requires agricultural employers and commercial pesticide handler employers to provide specific information and protections to workers (conducting hand labor in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people mixing, loading, or applying pesticides or doing other tasks involving direct contact with pesticides) to take a number of prescribed steps to minimize levels of occupational exposure to pesticides. It also requires owners of agricultural establishments to provide certain protections for themselves and their immediate family, requires handlers to wear label-specified personal protective equipment (PPE), and to take measures to protect workers and other persons during pesticide applications.

Training for WPS workers and handlers may be conducted by state-certified applicators, trainers who have completed an approved WPS Train-the-Trainer program, or by an educator designated by the state to train certified applicators.

In 2015, the WPS was significantly revised. Agricultural employers must comply with most of the changes starting in January 2017. The “How to Comply” manual, a key reference for employers, is now available at the link below. New WPS training materials will not be available until 2017, so the new training content will not be mandatory until January 2018. For more information on WPS and its revisions, visit the links below.