Serving the citizens of Arkansas and the agricultural and business communities by providing information and unbiased enforcement of laws and regulations set by the Arkansas State Plant Board
Worker Protection Standards
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is responsible for training and implementing the provisions of state and federal worker protection laws.
The federal law is The Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The law, published in 1992, governs the protection of employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. The Worker Protection Standard covers both workers in areas treated with pesticides, and employees who handle (mix, load, apply, etc.) pesticides. The How to Comply Manual is available online.
The purpose of the EPA Worker Protection Standard is to: (1) Eliminate or reduce exposures to pesticides; (2) Mitigate exposures that occur; (3) Inform employees about the hazard of pesticides.
This regulation covers pesticides that are used in production of agricultural plants on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The Worker Protection Standard requires one to take measures to reduce the risk of pesticide related illness and injury if one uses such pesticides or employ worker or pesticide handlers who are exposed to pesticides.
If you are an agricultural pesticide user or an employer of agricultural workers and handlers, the Worker Protection Standard requires you to provide to your employees, to yourself and others
- Information about exposure to pesticides
- Protection against exposure to pesticides, and
- Ways to mitigate exposure to pesticides.
What Does the Current WPS Require?
The requirements in the current WPS are intended to inform workers and handlers about pesticide safety, provide protections from potential exposure to pesticides, and mitigate exposures that do occur.
- Pesticide safety training — for workers and handlers,
- Access to labeling information — for pesticide handlers and early-entry workers,
- Access to specific information — for workers and handlers, which includes providing information about pesticide applications on the establishment, emergency information, and a pesticide safety poster at a central location,
- Keep workers out of areas being treated with pesticides,
- Keep workers out of areas that are under a restricted-entry interval (REI), with a few narrow exceptions,
- Protect early-entry workers who are doing permitted tasks in pesticide-treated areas during an REI, including special instructions and duties related to correct use of personal protective equipment,
- Notify workers about pesticide-treated areas so they can avoid inadvertent exposures,
- Monitor handlers using highly toxic pesticides,
- Provide required personal protective equipment to handlers,
- Decontamination supplies — a sufficient supply of water, soap, and towels for routine washing and emergency decontamination, and
- Emergency assistance — making transportation available to a medical care facility in case of a pesticide injury or poisoning, and providing information about the pesticide(s) to which the person may have been exposed.
For more information or resources please contact the agency’s Program Manager for WPS or visit the following websites: