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Pesticide Worker Safety

Regulatory Information for the 2015 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

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Rule Summary:

This rule revises the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families. These changes will provide farmworkers similar health protections that are already afforded to workers in other industries, while taking into account the unique working environment of many agricultural jobs, and balancing the needs of agriculture.

The WPS is intended to reduce the risks of injury or illness resulting from agricultural workers’ and handlers’ use and contact with pesticides on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The rule primarily seeks to protect workers (those who perform hand-labor tasks in pesticide-treated crops, such as harvesting, thinning, pruning) and handlers (those who mix, load and apply pesticides). The rule does not cover persons working with livestock. 

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Rule History

  • The original WPS was issued in 1992. View the 1992 WPS (PDF). (This is the entire issue for the day. WPS starts on page 38102.) (384 pp, 88.99 MB, About PDF)  
  •  In February 2014, EPA proposed significant changes to the rulemaking.  View the proposed rule.
  • The 2015 revised rulemaking is the result of input from stakeholders on the most effective ways to protect workers from pesticide exposure in an agricultural setting. View the final rule.

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Additional Resources

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The majority of the WPS revisions will be effective on January 2, 2017. The agency is developing an updated How to Comply manual, among other materials to assist with compliance.

The following industries may be effected by this rule:

  • Agricultural Establishments (NAICS code 111000), e.g.,
  • Nursery and Tree Production (NAICS code 111421),
  • Timber Tract Operations (NAICS code 113110),
  • Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products (NAICS code 113210),
  • Farm Workers (NAICS codes 11511, 115112, and 115114),
  • Pesticide Handling on Farms (NAICS code 115112), e.g.,
  • Farm Labor Contractors and Crew Leaders (NAICS code 115115),
  • Pesticide Handling in Forestry (NAICS code 115310),
  • Pesticide Manufacturers (NAICS code 325320),
  • Farm Worker Support Organizations (NAICS codes 813311, 813312, and 813319),
  • Farm Worker Labor Organizations (NAICS code 813930),
  • Crop Advisors (NAICS codes 115112, 541690, 541712)

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