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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

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.

Pestisides are any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. There are four basic types of pesticides:

  • insecticides
  • herbicides
  • rodenticides
  • fungicides

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.

OSU Pesticide Safety Program
Ohio Pesticide Safety Education Program
ODA Pesticide Regulation Program
Training Resources for Extension Educators
Safety Training Guide for Trained Service Persons
Ohio Pesticide Safety Education Program Online Lessons
Proper Removal of PPE after Pesticide Application
How to Safely Remove Disposable Gloves
How to Safely Remove Reusable Gloves

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.

Restricted-entry intervals (REI)
The restricted-entry interval (REI) is the time immediately after a pesticide application when entry into the treated area is restricted. The REI is listed on the pesticide label. When two or more pesticides are applied at the same time and have different REIs, the longer REI must be followed. Workers must keep out of a pesticide-treated area during the REI. Entry into treated areas during an REI is allowed only to perform handling tasks as long as the persons entering such areas are trained and equipped as pesticide handlers and receive all other applicable WPS handler protections.

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
CFAES - WPS Agricultural Handler Checklist
CFAES - WPS Agricultural Worker Checklist
CFAES - WPS Greenhouse / Nursery Handler Checklist
CFAES - WPS Greenhouse / Nursery Worker Checklist
Video: Worker and Handler Pesticide Training (EPA # - W/H PST 00022)
CFAES - WPS Handler Training Quiz
CFAES - WPS Worker Training Quiz
Video: Pesticide Safety for Agricultural Workers (EPA approved)
Pesticide Educational Resource Colaborative - EPA approved training reosurces

Compliance Resources
2017 Updated WPS Poster for Central Posting (English / Spanish)
2017 Updated WPS Poster for Central Posting (English)
2017 Updated WPS Poster for Central Posting (Spanish)
WPS New Revisions Comparison Chart (EPA 2016)
Video: Worker Protection Standard for OSU: 2016 (39 min)
Safety Training Guide for Trained Service Persons
Ohio Pesticide Safety - Worker Protection Standard Page
EPA - WPS Compliance Manual
EPA - Worker Protection Standard Page


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.


Reviewed / Updated: 10/28/21 K. McGuire