Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

New USEPA Rules Require Retailers to Train Pesticide Handlers on WPS

The USEPA issued changes to the decades old Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and the changes now require employers to train any employees who work with pesticides or pesticide equipment.  The changes went into effect on January 2, 2017 and are effective immediately.  Under the previous rules, the training requirements mostly applied to "workers" and not "handlers."  That is no longer the case.  Training of handler employees must be done annually, and prior to any employee starting any pesticide handling activity.  Even farmers who employ persons who are not immediate family members must train their pesticide handler employees.  
 
With the warm winter temperatures, some of you may be considering the early application of herbicides.  Please know that even your employees who are licensed as commercial pesticide operators MUST receive the WPS training before they perform any pesticide handling duties.  Only Certified Commercial Applicators are exempt from the training requirement; operators are NOT exempt.  
 
IFCA has provided a simple overview of the requirements (click here) and we've listed training resources on our website at www.ifca.com under "In the News."  USEPA has provided a PowerPoint presentation that you can use (must use) to train handlers.  A Certified Commercial Applicator can use the slides to train your handler employees; if you don't have a licensed Commercial Applicator at your company, then you must designate someone as a WPS trainer and they must first go through the USEPA "Train the Trainer" program; USEPA has a PowerPoint that you can use to train a trainer and it's also posted at the IFCA website.  
 
If you have any questions about this new requirement, please contact IFCA.  We are just hitting the main points in this Alert given the early onset of spring.  This is a federal law, and will be enforced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture as well as by USEPA.  We encourage you to take some time and review the "How to Comply" manual which is posted at www.ifca.com.