Pesticide Safety and Worker Protection Standard

What is the Worker Protection Standard?

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is designed to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to pesticide handlers and agricultural workers. The WPS includes requirements for:

  • Pesticide safety training
  • Notification of pesticide applications
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Restricted entry intervals following pesticide application
  • Decontamination supplies
  • Emergency medical assistance


What Services Does ACT Provide to Assist Growers with the Worker Protection Standard?

Staff of the Agricultural Consultation and Training (ACT) program assists growers in complying with federal and state Worker Protection Standards by providing pesticide safety training, developing pesticide information resources and performing mock inspections to assist farm and nursery owners in complying with pesticide regulations.

Pesticide Safety Training

Among the more popular services provided by ACT staff are free pesticide safety training courses for pesticide handlers who work directly with pesticides while mixing, loading and applying agrichemicals, and agricultural workers who perform tasks such as pruning, harvesting and irrigating crops.

If you want to train your own employees (workers and/or handlers) you must be qualified to do so in Arizona.  Please go to the following to find out more about upcoming training events. 

What You'll Learn

Pesticide safety training course attendees learn how to work safely around pesticides or in areas where pesticides have been applied. The training courses are provided in English and Spanish and are open to anyone who would like to attend. Pesticide applicators that are already licensed or certified by the state of Arizona may also attend to receive two hours of continuing education, which they can apply toward the renewal of their license.

Safety Training Services Information

The Arizona Department of Agriculture’s, Agricultural Consultation and Training (ACT) Program provides a variety of services to help the ag community comply with the Worker Protection Standard (40CFR Part 170). Among the services is FREE pesticide safety training in English and Spanish for pesticide handlers and agricultural workers.

Pesticide Handlers are people who mix, load, or apply pesticides as well as those who repair or clean pesticide application equipment.

Agricultural Workers perform tasks such as pruning, irrigating, weeding, planting and harvesting in areas where pesticides have been applied in the last 30 days, but do not work directly with pesticides.

Pesticide Handlers must receive training on the safe and effective use of pesticides and Agricultural Workers must attend general pesticide safety training each year.

Session Topics

The following information must be provided to both Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers during Worker Protection Standard training:

  • Where and in what form pesticides may be encountered during work activities
  • Hazards from chemigation, drift, and pesticide residue on clothing
  • Routes through which pesticides enter the body.
  • The hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure including acute effects, chronic effects, delayed effects and increased sensitivity.
  • Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  • Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  • How to obtain emergency medical care.
  • Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye flushing techniques.
  • Prevention, recognition and first aid treatment of heat-related illness.
  • Warning about taking home pesticides or pesticide containers.
  • Additional requirements designed to reduce the risks of illness or injury resulting from workers’ occupational exposure to pesticides, including application and entry restrictions, posting of warning signs, oral warning, the provision and availability of specific information about applications, protection against retaliatory acts and the design of the field posting (REI) sign.
  • How violations may be reported to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, including providing the Department’s toll-free pesticide hotline telephone number. The Pesticide Hotline number is 800-423-8876.

In addition to the topics listed above, Pesticide Handlers must also receive information on the following:

  • The format and meaning of information on pesticide labels and in labeling including safety information such as precautionary statements about human health hazards.
  • Need for and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
  • Safety requirements of handling, transporting, storing and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.
  • Environmental impacts such as drift, runoff and wildlife hazards.
  • An explanation of the Worker Protection Standard requirements that handler employers must follow for the protection of handlers and others, including the prohibition against applying pesticides in a manner that will cause contact with workers or others persons, the requirement to use personal protective equipment the provision for training and dec personal protective equipment, the provision for training and decontamination ontamination and the protection against retaliatory acts and the protection against retaliatory acts.

Schedule a Free Pesticide Safety Training

To schedule a training for agricultural employees, contact Roberto Rios, Pesticide Safety Field Consultant, at (602) 542-0985 or [email protected].

Pesticide Safety Resources and Teaching Tools

ACT staff develops new and adapts existing teaching tools, informational resources and training modules for use during safety events and for distribution to agricultural employers, employees, health care professionals and pesticide safety educators.

One informational resource, The Bilingual English/Spanish Pesticide Label Terminology Pamphlet was developed to assist Spanish-reading pesticide handlers to interpret the pesticide use, safety and health information located on pesticide product labels.

The pamphlet contains English-language terminology that is frequently found on pesticide product labels. Each word has been translated into Spanish. The terminology pertains to personal protective equipment, first aid, environmental protection, pesticide formulations, storage and disposal of pesticide containers and the meaning of commonly used acronyms such as “EPA” and “WPS.” The pamphlet is a useful tool for improving communication between English and Spanish speakers.


Worker Protection Standard Site Visits

ACT staff will visit your agricultural operation to perform a mock WPS inspection. During the visit, ACT staff will evaluate your operation to see if you are in compliance with state and federal pesticide safety laws.

Request a Mock WPS Site Visit

To request a mock site visit or for more information, call ACT’s pesticide safety field consultant at (602) 542-0985, or (800) 294-0308 for outside of Maricopa County.

You may also perform your own mock inspection by using the Self-Evaluation Checklist.


Pesticide Courses and Resources Listserv

The Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Consultation and Training (ACT) Program created a listserv called Pesticide Courses and Resources. Through this listserv we will keep people informed about the different pesticide safety workshops, pesticide applicator certification classes and educational tools that are available to the agricultural community.

Sign Up for Pesticide Email Updates

If you would like to receive occasional pesticide-related updates from the ACT Program, please send an e-mail titled "Addition to Pesticide Courses and Resources List" to [email protected].

Important Documents

Self Evaluation Checklist Download
Pesticide Label Vocabulary Pamphlet Download
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