Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Agricultural Worker Safety FAQ

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) implements an Agricultural Worker Safety Program to protect individuals from occupational exposure to pesticides.

Select a question below to expand the answer.

What is FAWSA?

FAWSA is the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Act, which was implemented July 1, 2004. Its intent is to ensure that agricultural workers employed in Florida receive protection from agricultural pesticides and are given information concerning agricultural pesticides. 

What is the Worker Protection Standard (WPS)?

The federal Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS) was implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992. Its goal is to ensure the health and safety of agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who work on agricultural establishments.

Who do FAWSA and WPS protect?

FAWSA protects agricultural workers (“workers”). WPS protects two types of people: agricultural workers ("workers'') and pesticide handlers ("handlers"). The workers and handlers must be employed on an agricultural establishment that produces agricultural plants. Workers perform tasks such as harvesting, weeding, planting and other tasks associated with the production of agricultural plants. Handlers are individuals who actually handle pesticides and the application equipment. These tasks include mixing, loading and applying pesticides and handling the equipment used to apply them.

How are FAWSA and WPS regulated?

FAWSA is a Florida law and is regulated by FDACS. The WPS is a federal regulation implemented in Florida by FDACS through a cooperative agreement with EPA.

What types of establishments are covered by FAWSA and WPS?

Establishments that are covered are farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses that produce agricultural plants. Agricultural plants means any plant grown or maintained for commercial or research purposes and includes, but is not limited to, food, feed, fiber plants, trees, turfgrass, flowers, shrubs, ornamentals and seedlings.

How do I know if FAWSA and WPS apply to me?

If an establishment falls under the jurisdiction of the WPS, it must:

  • Be considered agricultural, as defined by the WPS, and must produce agricultural plants. This includes any farm, forest, nursery or greenhouse but excludes agricultural establishments where only animals (livestock, fish, etc.) are produced.
  • Use pesticides labeled with the agricultural use statement that instructs that the product is to be used in accordance with the WPS.
  • Employ or contract with (within the last 30 days) agricultural workers or pesticide handlers.

For assistance in determining if an establishment is covered, see Does WPS Apply To Me? [ Adobe PDF Document 878.27 KB ]

Which pesticides are covered?

You can tell if a pesticide is covered by WPS by reading the agricultural use statement on the label. Look for the statement "Must be applied in accordance with the Worker Protection Standard, 40 CFR Part 170." This indicates the product falls under the WPS regulation.

What is required of employers affected by FAWSA and WPS?

Generally speaking, the requirements for agricultural employers include:

  • Providing training to employees who are workers and handlers;
  • Providing specified decontamination supplies to those employees;
  • Providing information to employees so they know exactly what, where and when pesticides have been applied; and
  • Providing emergency assistance to employees who have become sick from pesticide exposure.

Who is allowed to train workers and handlers?

Any person who conducts pesticide safety training must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be designated as a trainer of certified applicators, handlers or workers by EPA or the state or tribal agency responsible for pesticide enforcement.
  • Have completed an EPA-approved pesticide safety train-the-trainer program for trainers of workers.
  • Be currently certified as an applicator of restricted use pesticides (RUPs).

What is the WPS Train-the-Trainer Program?

Under FAWSA and WPS, agriculture employers must ensure that agricultural workers and pesticide handlers employed in the state of Florida receive protection from agricultural pesticides and that they receive information concerning pesticides. The WPS Train-the-Trainer Program promotes the development of a working population of knowledgeable WPS trainers of agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, to prevent and reduce pesticide exposure and related illness.

Where can I attend a WPS Train-the-Trainer class?

You can attend a Train-the-Trainer program at local cooperative extension service offices that offer such training. Contact offices in your area to find out when and where Train-the-Trainer courses are offered. Find an office near you

What must be covered in an FDACS WPS Train-the-Trainer Training?

The training must cover the information specified in the FDACS WPS Train-the-Trainer Training Criteria and Curriculum [ Adobe PDF Document 201.04 KB ].

What is a Registered WPS Train-the-Trainer Sponsor Instructor?

A registered WPS Train-the-Trainer Sponsor Instructor is anyone who is registered with the Florida Agricultural Worker Safety Program to organize or sponsor WPS Train-the-Trainer sessions to educate WPS trainers. For information on how to register, please see WPS Train-the-Trainer Sponsor Instructor Registration [ Adobe PDF Document ].  

Where can I get FAWSA and WPS training materials?

Please see our Order Form for WPS Materials [ Adobe PDF Document 352.44 KB ].