Basic Principles of the Worker Protection Standard
The 1992 Worker Protection Standard protects over three and a half million people who work with pesticides at over 560,000 workplaces. The Worker Protection Standard, administered by the U.S. EPA, represents a major strengthening of national efforts to safeguard the health of agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Effective implementation of the WPS will substantially lower the risk of pesticide poisonings among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.
Summary of WPS Requirements
Protection during applications—Applicators are prohibited from applying a pesticide in a way that will expose workers or other persons. Workers are excluded from areas while pesticides are being applied.
Restricted-entry intervals—Restricted-entry intervals must be specified on all agricultural plant pesticide product labels. Workers are excluded from entering a pesticide treated area during the restricted entry interval, with only narrow exceptions.
Personal protective equipment—Personal protective equipment must be provided and maintained for handlers and early-entry workers.
Notification of workers—Workers must be notified about treated areas so that they may avoid inadvertent exposures.
Decontamination supplies—Handlers and workers must have an ample supply of water, soap, and towels for routine washing and emergency decontamination.
Emergency assistance—Transportation must be made available to a medical care facility if a worker or handler may have been poisoned or injured. Information must be provided about the pesticide to which the person may have been exposed.
Pesticide safety training and safety posters—Training is required for all workers and handlers, and a pesticide safety poster must be displayed.
Access to labeling and site specific information—Handlers and workers must be informed of pesticide label requirements. Central posting of recent pesticide applications is required.
The best source for educational materials on the Worker Protection Standard can be found at PERC, the Pesticide Education Resources Collaborative, a program organized by the University of California at Davis and Oregon State University. PERC is funded by EPA and their materials have been reviewed and approved by EPA. Follow this URL to get to PERC: http://pesticideresources.org