WPS for Greenhouse Employers: Pesticide Safety Training

The majority of the 2015 revisions to EPA’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS) go into effect on January 2, 2017.  To download the complete guide HOW TO COMPLY WITH THE 2015 REVISED WORKER PROTECTION STANDARD FOR AGRICULTURAL PESTICIDES, visit the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC), http://pesticideresources.org//index.html.  Over the next few weeks, we will break down the revised WPS to help wholesale and retail greenhouse employers of workers and handlers comply with WPS. This post provides the WPS pesticide training requirement as provided in the HOW  TO COMPLY manual (pp 27-29).

Pesticide Safety Training

All workers and handlers of agricultural employers must receive ANNUAL WPS training before they perform worker or handler tasks. Key requirements for training workers and handlers include:

  • There is no grace period for WPS training! The agricultural employer must ensure that WPS training is completed within the last 12 months before:
    • Any worker enters a treated area on an agricultural establishment where, within the last 30 days, a WPS-labeled pesticide product has been used or a REI for such pesticide has been in effect.
    • Any handler conducts any handling task.
  • Workers and handlers are exempt from WPS training if they are currently:
    • Certified as an applicator of restricted-use pesticides.
    • Certified as a crop advisor by a program acknowledged as appropriate in writing by EPA, or a State or Tribal agency responsible for pesticide enforcement. 170.401(b)
    • Additionally, a worker is exempt from WPS worker training if they have been trained as a WPS handler within the last 12 months.
  • The following qualified trainers may provide WPS training:
    • a certified applicator of restricted-use pesticides
    • a trainer of certified pesticide applicators, handlers or workers by the EPA, federal, state or tribal entities
    • have completed a EPA-approved pesticide safety train-the-trainer program
  • Train workers and handlers annually, once every 12 months from the end of the month when the previous training was completed.
  • Provide training in a manner that the workers or handlers can understand, using a translator if necessary.
  • Present training using EPA-approved materials either orally from written materials or audio-visually (see the video and links at the end of this post for those you can use with employees to satisfy the training requirement).****
  • Keep records of worker or handler training for 2 years from the date of training. Records must include:
    • Worker or handler’s printed name and signature
    • Training date
    • Trainer’s name and qualification(s) to train
    • Employer’s name
    • Identification of EPA-approved training materials (for example, the EPA document or approval number)
  • Make training records available to employees upon request.
  • All training requirements are effective January 2, 2017 EXCEPT the expanded training content which is effective January 2, 2018.

****As part of the revised WPS, the following training video satisfies the pesticide safety training requirement for agricultural workers about pesticides under the revised WPS. Additional videos are available in English and Spanish with or without closed-captioning at the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC), http://pesticideresources.org//index.html.