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Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

What is the Worker Protection Standard (WPS)?

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal regulation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and enforced in Colorado by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  WPS applies whenever a pesticide is used in the production of agricultural plants that has an “Agricultural Use Requirements” section on the product label.  The Quick Reference Guide to the 2015 WPS offers information on the important changes as well as references to the published regulation.

Example of ‘Agricultural Use Requirements’ box

The rule provides specific protections to workers (people employed to perform work activities related to the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people employed to mix, load, or apply pesticides for use on agricultural establishments in the production of agricultural plants).

If you employ agricultural workers or handlers, are involved in the production of agricultural plants as an owner/manager of an agricultural establishment, or a commercial (for-hire) pesticide handling establishment, or work as a crop advisor, read the How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides. You can also see some of the requirements of the 2015 revised WPS here.

On November 2, 2015, EPA revised the WPS, making significant changes to the rule’s requirements.  The revised rules went into effect January 2, 2017 with the exception of the following, which are delayed until January 2, 2018:

  • New content on pesticide safety information display. Posters are now available for download/printing that comply with the 2015 Revision. Click on the size of poster and language needed:
If you would like to purchase the posters or other WPS materials produced by PERC, check out the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC) store!
  • New content in worker and handler pesticide safety training. For resources on WPS training of workers and handlers, visit the WPS Training Resource page.
  • Handler requirement to suspend applications if anyone is in the application exclusion zone.

For an overview of requirements affecting agricultural establishments, commercial pesticide handling facilities, crop advisors and labor contractors, visit the Compliance page.

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