Pesticide Safety and EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

Pesticide Applicator Requirements

OSU employees who apply pesticides as part of their job are required to either, obtain a Commercial Applicator License through appropriate training and testing, or work under the supervision of a Licensed Applicator as a Trained Service Person.

Commercial Applicator License Training is available, for a fee, through the Ohio Pesticide Safety Education Program which is part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Online Lessons are also available to help prepare for the certification training and exam.

Trained Service Person Training can be obtained by reading the Trained Service Person Manual (OSU Bulletin 863) or by receiving equivalent training from his/her supervisor.

EPA Worker Protection Standard for Workers and Pesticide Handlers
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal regulation issued by U.S. EPA. Protecting workers from potential adverse effects of pesticides is an important function of EPA's Pesticide Program. Workers in a number of occupations may be exposed to pesticides when they:
  • Prepare pesticides for use, such as by mixing a concentrated pesticide with water or when loading the pesticide into application equipment.
  • Apply pesticides, such as in an agricultural or industrial setting. 
  • Enter an area where pesticides have been applied to perform tasks, such as picking crops.
The WPS applies to growers who own or manage a farm, forest, nursery, or greenhouse where pesticides are used in production of agriculture plants and have one or more of these situation:
  1. Hire or contract for services of agricultural workers who receive compensation and do tasks such as harvesting, weeding, or watering.
  2. Operate a business or farm where pesticides are applied by handlers who receive compensation and do tasks related to mixing, loading, transferring, or applying pesticides.
  3. Operate a business where crop advisor tasks are performed.
The WPS protections cover two types of employees:
  • Pesticide handlers: those who mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides; clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or assist with the application of pesticides.
  • Agricultural workers: those who perform tasks related to growing (planting, weeding, pruning) and harvesting plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries, or forests.
OSU Employee Training
The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has established a training program that can be accessed via OSU Environmental Health and Safety website. ( The training curriculum is based on EPA required specifications and EPA approved material: EPA # - W/H PST 00022. Supervisors will determine which training (Worker or Handler) the employee should take based on the work tasks that will be perfomed by the employee.
The WPS training is a three step process:
     1) On-line training session through the OSU EHS Training website
     2) Comprehensive test following the on-line session (80% correct to proceed with the final step)
     3) Supervisors must go over site specific content using the appropriate CFAES WPS checklist.
To start the WPS Worker or WPS Handler Training (OSU employees / students):
1) Click on this link -
2) Cick on the Occupational Health and Safety content area.

3) Scroll down to locate the WPS:Worker or WPS:Handler training course and click on "Take this Course".
4) Sign in using your login (last name.###)
5) At the end of the on-line training you will be prompted to take the quiz.
6) Once training has been completed, a list your training sessions will be listed under “My Training”.
7) Print off your "My Training" list for the supervisor to keep on file.
At this point the supervisor can go over site specific information using the appropriate CFAES WPS checklist (below) for the facility.
Training Resources
Compliance Resources
If you have any questions, please contact Kent McGuire (CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator) at or (614) 292-0588 or the Pesticide Safety Education Program, Ohio State University Extension at or 614-292-4070.