University of Maryland Extension

What Farmers Need to Know about the Worker Protection Standard

Farmers who use pesticide products must use the product in accordance with the label and are responsible for taking certain steps to prevent pesticide exposure and mitigate any pesticide related health consequences for themselves and their employees, co-owners, and family members working on the farm. The Worker Protection Standard requires that when farmers use a pesticide with a WPS-label, they take certain protective measures to reduce the risk of illness or injury associated with exposure to pesticides. Not only is complying with the WPS a legal requirement for farmers who use a WPS-labeled pesticide, but research has shown that the practices required by the WPS benefit the health of farmers, farmworkers, and their families. Organic farmers may not realize that they are subject to the WPS. To comply with federal law and reduce pesticide related risks, all farmers should follow pesticide label instructions and implement the recommended practices. The WPS responsibilities can be broken down into three categories: inform, protect, and mitigate. This factsheet includes a summary of the main WPS provisions.

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