Farm Workers FAQs

About the EPA’s Worker Protection Standard for Pesticide Handling

Q – Since the Worker Protection Standard requires steps to avoid heat stress, can we eliminate some of the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hot weather?

No. Although there are several options to avoid heat stress, ignoring the required PPE is not an option. Follow the chemical label instructions completely in regards to the required PPE. To avoid heat stress, adjust your spraying times to the cooler times of the morning, evening, or night. Wear light-colored spraying clothes or white Tyvek suits to reflect the heat, and stop more frequently for water breaks.

Q – If a handler or worker gets sick from a pesticide exposure, how must we transport them to an emergency medical facility?

You are required to provide transportation to the emergency medical facility. That means that you can drive the individual yourself, arrange for someone else to drive them, or call an ambulance. Don’t forget to take or send the necessary information along with them. This includes the pesticide product name, EPA registration number, and the active ingredients of the pesticide that the person was exposed to. You also will need the antidote, first aid, statement of practical treatment, and other medical or emergency information from the product labeling. You also will need a description of how the pesticide was being used and the circumstances of the worker or handler’s exposure to the pesticide.

Q – The WPS requires applicators to have emergency eyewash immediately available when applying a pesticide that requires applicators to wear eye protection. Can you define what “immediately available” means?

The standard requires that each handler be provided at least one pint of emergency eyewash water when the pesticide labeling requires protective eyewear for the handling task being performed. The emergency eyewash must be immediately accessible. For example, it could be carried by the handler or be on the vehicle the handler is using. Keep the emergency eyewash at the decontamination site if that is immediately accessible. The eyewash should not be too hot or too cold for the eyes. “Immediately available” can mean within reaching distance.

Q – Can workers pick up pesticides at the suppliers or is this duty just for handlers?

Workers can transport unopened sealed containers of pesticides; however, due to the possibility of a spill, it is recommended that handlers do that job. Handlers will be better trained to deal with the spill and should have their PPE. Also, don’t forget to take along materials to contain and clean up a possible spill.

Q – Where can I get information on specific pesticides?
Contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378 or e-mail them at