Environmental Health & Safety

Pesticide Safety Training

There are state and federal regulations that mandate pesticide safety training for employees who handle pesticides or work in areas where pesticides have been applied.

Worker requirements

The following requirements for training apply, and are based on when pesticides are applied.




Before Application None Any worker can enter the field without needing any special training
Application Pesticide Handler training When any pesticide is being applied only trained pesticide handlers may be present in the field at that time and they must be wearing the required personal protective equipment
Restricted-Entry Interval Early Entry Worker training Most pesticides have a mandated restricted-entry interval ranging from a few hours to several days or weeks. Only properly trained “Early-Entry Workers” can enter the treated field during the restricted-entry interval—often they must be wearing personal protective equipment and the amount of time spent in the area may be limited.
30 days afterward Pesticide Fieldworker training In the 30-day period after the end of the restricted-entry interval. Anyone working in the treated field during this time must have received the Federal Worker Protection Standard training within the last 5 years. Employers must document that these workers have received this training or they must provide the training to the employees.

Pesticide Handler training

Training must be performed at least every 12 months and it must be specific to the pesticide being handled. People who perform any of the work listed on this slide are considered pesticide handlers.

  • Mix, load, apply pesticides
  • Work as flagger
  • Assist in any way with application
  • Clean, service, or repair contaminated equipment
  • Handle opened containers or unrinsed empty containers
  • Field scout or PCA making observations during application

Unless they are certified applicators or PCAs, they must receive yearly training, although not necessarily on a calendar year basis. Training must be provided prior to any handling activity. Once training is given it is good for 12 months. However, the training must be given before the employee engages in any pesticide handling activities. Training must be specific to the pesticides being handled. If it is expected that the employee will be handling several pesticides during the coming year, the training for all of them can be given at the same time. However, if a new pesticide in introduced, the training must be updated to include that material before the employee handles it. Pesticide safety training records must be kept for two years.

Fieldworker training

This training applies to all employees working in production agriculture (including agricultural research), commercial greenhouses and nurseries, and forests. This training is mandated by the Federal Worker Protection Standard. The purpose of the training is to provide workers with information about how they can protect themselves from pesticide residues in fields where they work. It also is designed to provide them information about their rights to obtain medical care and information about the pesticides used at their workplaces. The Worker Protection Standard prevents employers from retaliating against employees who are following the requirements of the standard.

Fieldworkers must be trained at least every 5 years. Employers must have verifiable proof that a worker received this training or they must provide the training themselves. Verifiable proof could be a blue card issued by a qualified trainer. Only qualified trainers can provide this training. Complete the Pesticide Safety training for Fieldworkers online.

Qualified Trainer

The person who provides the training to employees who work in production agriculture (including agricultural research), commercial greenhouses and nurseries, and forests, must be qualified in some way. This is a California requirement. Trainers must be certified applicators (QAC or QAL in any categories), certified private applicators, PCAs, UC Farm Advisors, Ag Commissioner biologists, or have attended an approved train-the-trainer program such as the one offered by the UC IPM Pesticide Safety Education Program.



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