If you work around fields or plants on an agricultural establishment where pesticides were used in the last 30 days, the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) probably applies to you. Your employer is required to provide you with pesticide-related information, protections, and emergency assistance. This guide is an incomplete summary of the required protections for workers, not pesticide handlers. To learn more, see the "How-to-Comply" manual at pesticideresources.org.

These rules are intended to protect you and your family from the risks of pesticide exposure.

Your employer will provide information.

  • Before you begin working in treated areas, you will receive training about the risks of pesticide exposure, poisoning symptoms, first aid, and ways to protect yourself. The training must be provided in a manner you can understand. A qualified trainer must be present to answer your questions. This training must be provided every 12 months. You can request a record of your training, and take it with you to other establishments.
  • Your employer will tell you where to find the following things on each establishment where you work. They should be freely accessible during work hours:
    • pesticide safety poster at a central location,
    • pesticide application records with information recent pesticide applications, and
    • safety data sheets for pesticides applied recently
    • water, soap and single-use towels for hand-washing
  • Your employer will tell you which fields or areas you must avoid when entry is restricted because of pesticides. They might tell you verbally at the beginning of your shift, or they might post warning signs.
  • If you have to enter treated areas before the restricted-entry interval (REI) has expired, your employer will give you extra information and personal protective equipment.

Your employer will provide protections.

  • Your employer will keep workers and others out of the area when pesticides are being applied. If the pesticide label requires a restricted-entry interval (REI), your employer will keep workers out for that period of time.
  • Your employer will keep workers and others away from pesticide application equipment while pesticides are being used. The distance is 100 feet for air-blast sprayers and aerial applications. The distance varies depending on the type of application.
  • If you perform any of these "pesticide handler" activities, your employer must provide you with extra training, personal protective equipment, information from pesticide labels, and other protections:
    • enter treated areas early (before the REI expires)
    • mix, load, or apply pesticides
    • dispose of pesticides
    • handle open pesticide containers unless they have been triple-rinsed
    • act as a flagger during pesticide applications
    • clean, handle, or repair equipment that may have pesticide residues
    • help with pesticide applications
  • Pesticide handlers must be at least 18 years old.

Your employer will make sure you get help if you are exposed to pesticides and show symptoms.

  • Your employer will make sure you have transportation to a medical facility.
  • The location of a nearby emergency medical facility will be on the WPS Safety Poster at a central location.
  • Your employer will provide the medical team with information about the situation, the pesticide, and the pesticide's safety data sheet.

Your employer is not allowed to punish you for following these rules.

  • You may refuse to participate in activities that would violate the WPS.
  • You may provide information to government authorities during WPS investigations.
  • You may report WPS violations to the appropriate authorities.
  • Look for the phone number on the WPS Safety Poster at a central location.

Your employer will provide documents if you ask within two years.

  • You may request a record of your WPS training.
  • You may request pesticide application information and safety data sheets. If you would rather not ask for these records yourself, you can designate a representative to request them for you. You will have to sign your name and provide your dates of employment.

You can make a difference for yourself, your coworkers, and your family.

  • Learn all you can from the training materials and safety poster.
  • Prevent unnecessary exposure to pesticides.
  • Recognize the symptoms of pesticide poisoning.
  • Avoid taking pesticide residues home with you.
  • Children and pregnant women are especially sensitive to the effects of pesticides.