Colorado Department of Pesticide Education Program at Colorado State University

Worker/Handler Training

training is the best way to protect employees

While training for workers and handlers is the law, it is also the best way to ensure that your workers are not exposed to pesticides. Protect yourself by protecting them.

  • CEPEP offers WPS training! Our trainings provide great advantages to employers:
    • Trainings are interactive, with activities, games, and videos
    • We provide WPS certification and an EPA verification card valid for 5 years
    • We provide employers with a roster of all employees who have been trained
    • Training is provided in both Spanish and English

    Call us today at (970) 491-3947 or email us to schedule a training.

  • CEPEP offers EPA-approved WPS training videos for you to loan!
  • For more information on training checkout our training checklists:

Be aware that you must provide any untrained worker with basic pesticide safety information before they do any work in an area that has been treated with pesticides within the last 30 days.

This page contains the following sections:

  1. Who Must Be Trained?
  2. How Soon Must I Provide Training?
  3. Who Can Conduct Training?
  4. How Should Training Be Conducted?
  5. Basic Information
  6. Training for Agricultural Workers
  7. Additional Training for Early-Entry Workers
  8. Training for Handlers

STOP!This web site cannot give you all the information you need to comply with the WPS. Please consult EPA's How to Comply Manual and WPS website for full details.

who must be trained? (Top)

All workers and handlers must be trained before they accumulate more than 5 days of work. You are not required to conduct training if the worker or handler:

  • Has been trained within the last 5 years, even if he or she has changed employers
  • Is currently a certified applicator of restricted-use pesticides
  • Is currently trained as a handler who works under the supervision of a certified pesticide applicator

How soon must I provide training? (Top)

There are different requirements for different types of employees.

  1. Handlers must be trained before they do any kind of handling task.
  2. Early-entry workers must be trained before they do any early-entry task.
  3. Other agricultural workers must be trained before they accumulate more than 5 separate days of work on your establishment.

who can conduct training? (Top)

This flow chart shows how certified applicators, EPA Certified Trainers, and people who have completed a train-the-trainer program can train both workers and handlers. In addition, pesticide handlers can train agricultural workers.

WPS Trainershandlerworker

How Should training be conducted? (Top)

WPS training in general must include the following elements:

  • Written and/or audio-visual materials, like posters and videos.
  • An oral or audiovisual (video) presentation.
  • Presentation in a manner the trainees understand, using a translator if necessary. Please remember that some employees may not be able to read either English or their native language.
  • Responses to trainees' questions.
The content of WPS training materials must be either materials developed by EPA, or equivalent material that contains at least the concepts provided in the sections below.

Basic Information (Top)

provide basic informationYou must provide basic pesticide safety information to any untrained worker before they enter an area on your property where pesticides have been applied within the last 30 days. To meet this requirement, you must:

  1. Provide basic pesticide safety information in a manner that the employees can understand, whether with written materials or oral communication.
  2. You must be able to verify that you have completed basic safety training.
  3. You must provide workers with at minimum the following information:
    • Pesticides may be on or in plants, soil, irrigation water, or drifting from nearby applications.
    • To prevent pesticides from entering your body:
    • Wash before eating, drinking, using chewing gum or tobacco, or using the toilet.
    • Wear work clothing that protects you from pesticide residues.
    • After work, wash with soap and water, shampoo hair, and put on clean clothes.
    • Wash work clothes separately from other clothes.
    • If you come into contact with spilled or sprayed pesticides, wash immediately with nearest clean water. Shower and change into clean clothes as soon as possible.
    • You will receive more training within 5 days.

training for Agricultural workers (Top)

protect workersTraining for agricultural workers is required before they accumulate more than 5 days separate entry into treated areas where a pesticide has been applied in the last 30 days. You must present WPS training in a manner that the worker can understand.

Training for workers must include at least the following information:

  1. Where and in what form pesticides may be encountered during work activities.
  2. Hazards of pesticides resulting from exposure, including acute effects, chronic effects, delayed effects, and sensitization.
  3. Routes pesticides take to enter the body.
  4. Signs and symptoms of common types of pesticide poisoning.
  5. Emergency first aid for pesticide injuries or poisonings.
  6. How to obtain emergency medical care.
  7. Routine and emergency decontamination procedures, including emergency eye-flushing techniques.
  8. Hazards from chemigation and drift.
  9. Hazards of pesticide residues on clothing.
  10. Warnings about taking pesticides or pesticide containers home.
  11. An explanation of the WPS requirements to protect workers, including:
    • Application and entry restrictions
    • Design of the warning sign
    • Posting of warning signs
    • Oral warnings
    • Availability of specific information about applications
    • Protection against retaliatory acts

training & instruction for Early-entry Workers (Top)

Early-entry workers must be currently trained as a WPS worker before entering a treated area during an REI. The 5-day grace period for training DOES NOT APPLY to early-entry workers. Early-entry workers must, in addition, receive the following instructions and information:
  1. How to put on, use, and take off early-entry PPE. You must provide clean, functional PPE to early-entry workers.
  2. The importance of washing thoroughly after removing PPE.
  3. How to prevent, recognize, and give correct first aid for heat illness.
  4. Information and instructions on the pesticide label for the product causing the REI, including:
    • human hazard statements and precautions
    • first aid
    • signs and symptoms of poisoning
    • PPE required for early-entry
    • any other precautions or instructions related to safe use or early entry.
Additional requirements for early-entry workers are listed on our How To Comply page.

training for pesticide handlers (Top)

Handlers must be trained before they do any type of handling work. In addition to the requirements for worker training, handler training must include at minimum the following concepts:

  1. Format and meaning of information on pesticide labels and labeling, including precautionary statements about human health hazards.
  2. Need for and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
  3. Prevention, recognition, and first aid for heat-related illnesses.
  4. Safety requirements for handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of pesticides, including general procedures for spill cleanup.
  5. Environmental concerns such as drift, runoff, and wildlife hazards.
  6. An explanation of WPS requirements that handler employers must follow for the protection of handlers and others, including:
    • the prohibition agains applying pesticides in a way that could cause contact with workers or other people,
    • the requirement to use PPE,
    • the provisions for training and decontamination,
    • and the protection against retaliatory acts.
There are futher requirements for employers of pesticide handlers other than training. Find them on our How to Comply page.


Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management:    Address   1177 Campus Delivery    Colorado State University     Fort Collins, CO 80523     Voice: 970-491-3947     Fax: 970-491-3862

Disclaimer | Equal Opportunity | Privacy Statement