Worker Protection Standard

The Worker Protection Standard is for Agricultural Workers* & Handlers** of Agricultural Use Pesticides.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) through the Code of Federal Regulations established the Worker Protection Standard (40 CFR 170) which pertains to the safety and health of employees who work on farms, in forests, in greenhouses or in nurseries where agricultural use pesticides are used or stored in the production of agricultural plants grown or maintained for commercial or research purposes.  The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requires agricultural establishment owners such as Purdue University to take steps to "reduce the risk of pesticide related illness and injury (1) if they use these pesticides, or (2) employ workers or pesticide handlers who are exposed to such pesticides".  To ensure compliance with the WPS, EHS offers Pesticide Handler Training which provides for employees information about exposure to pesticides, protection against exposure to pesticides, and ways to mitigate exposures to pesticides.

WPS training notification is done via e-mail to departmental contacts who distribute and post notices when necessary. Training is performed on campus by EHS Safety at the beginning of each semester or when requested. Training is available for satellite operations and farms as well. There is no sign-up required, individual's may attend any session that suits their schedule.

WPS training verification is provided by the "WPS Training and Information Verification" form, which is completed at the end of the training session. A copy of the signed verification form is sent to the trained individual's business office to be placed in their personnel file. EHS retains the original. Training is good for one (1) year.

By signing the "WPS Training and Information Verification" form an individual is acknowledging they have received Worker Protection Standard training and information about policies and procedures applicable to their work environment. WPS training program contains at a minimum the following elements:

    1. Format and meaning of information of pesticide labels and in labeling, including safety information such as precautionary statements abut human health hazards
    2. Hazards of pesticides resulting from toxicity and exposure, including acute effects, chronic effects, delayed effects and sensitization
    3. Routes through pesticides can enter the body
    4. Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning
    5. Emergency aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings
    6. How to obtain emergency care
    7. Routine and emergency decontamination procedures including emergency eye flushing techniques
    8. Need for and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
    9. Prevention, recognition and first aid treatment of heat related illness
    10. Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup
    11. Environmental concerns such as drift, runoff and wildlife hazards
    12. Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home
    13. An explanation of the WPS requirements handlers and employees must adhere to for the protection of handlers and others, including the prohibition against applying pesticides in a manner that will cause contact with workers or to other persons, requirements for use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the provisions for training and decontamination and protection against retaliatory acts

* Handler - those employees that mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides; clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or assist with the application of pesticides in any way. Handlers must be trained before performing any handling task.

** Worker - those employees that perform tasks related to the cultivation and harvesting of plants on University farms or in greenhouses, nurseries, or forests. Workers include anyone employed for any compensation doing tasks, such as carrying nursery stock, repotting plants, or watering, related to the production of agricultural plants at the University. Workers must receive basic pesticide safety information before they enter a treated area. No more than 5 days after initial employment, workers must receive complete WPS safety training.

Workers do NOT include such employees as office employees, truck drivers, mechanics, and any other worker not engaged in agricultural worker/handler activities.

WPS Pesticide Safety Training is available from EHS by contacting the Safety section.

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