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January 5, 2017

Revised Federal Worker Protection Standard Now in Effect

The revisions to the federal worker protection regulations for pesticides, the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), went into effect on January 2, 2017, as originally scheduled.

This follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of a petition from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and American Farm Bureau to delay the January 2, 2017 implementation date.

Many employers already implement record keeping and training, similar to what is required by the new standard. However, as previously reported in Spotlight, there are a number of new obligations resulting from the rule.

EPA has released a “How to Comply” manual available here. Western Growers encourages members to carefully review the manual. Agricultural employers and handler employers must comply with most of the requirements of the final rule by January 2, 2017, while others go into effect on January 2, 2018.

Changes required as of January 2, 2017 include:

  • Annual training for workers and handlers
  • Recordkeeping of training information
  • Recordkeeping of pesticide application information and hazard information
  • Minimum age requirements
  • Instructors must attend an EPA approved “Train the Trainer” course
  • Provide specific amounts of water for decontamination
  • No-entry application exclusion zones.


Changes required by January 2, 2018 include:

  • Expanded training content for workers and handlers (January 2, 2018 or within 6 months of EPA making training materials available but not before January 2, 2018)
  • Expanded content for safety information display
  • Requirements for suspension of application if unauthorized persons enter an “exclusion zone”


The rule also includes a controversial “designated representative” provision, which requires employers to make pesticide application and hazard information available to a person designated in writing by a worker or handler. Western Growers has concerns about the limits and intentions of this provision, though it is an improvement over the proposed rule that allowed written or oral designation of a representative.

In addition to the EPA “How to Comply” manual, states have services and training available to assist with compliance:

  • UC IPM and AgSafe are offering instructor training workshops co-sponsored by CDPR. More information is available here. CDPR has made information available on the changes made in the California regulations to comply with the federal standards here.
  • Arizona Department of Agriculture has resources to help employers and handlers comply with the new standard available here.
  • Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University will be providing webinars and presentations. More information is available on their website.

Previously, Western Growers released a fact sheet with information comparing the new standard to the old standard. EPA also made available a review and comparison of changes.

For more information, contact Ben Sacher at (202) 296-0191 ext 7301.