How Do the Revisions for WPS Affect Me This Season?

by ALICIA WHIDDEN, UF/IFAS
Extension Agent Hillsborough County

IN NOVEMBER OF 2015, the U.S. EPA passed into rule chang­es to the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS), which was first implemented in 1995. The original pur­pose of WPS was to reduce agricultural workers and handlers’ ex­posure to pesticides and the risk of pesticide-related illness. The new changes are to help further reduce the risk to workers and handlers. Most of the new changes will not become effective till January 2, 2017. There are four provisions that are delayed and will not go into effect until January 2018. What this means for this upcoming peach season is that workers and handlers will still need to be trained as required by law but you will be able to follow the guidelines that you have been following since the changes will not go into effect until January 2, 2017 for most of the new changes.

Those who are certified WPS trainers or restricted pesticide license holders will still be able to train workers and handlers un­der the new revisions. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is advising that even though it is not required for you to be certified again, attending a new “WPS Train the Trainer” class would be a great way to learn all the new regula­tions. The new training materials will help to ensure you know all the new rules so that your operation will be in compliance with all the new procedures in 2017, and then those that follow in 2018.