Washington State University

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Washington State
Pest Management Resource Service

Use of Registered Pesticides

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Applicable colleges, departments, researchers, and volunteers must follow the requirements in this section to comply with state and federal laws regarding the use of registered pesticides. Registered pesticides are defined as pesticides which are registered for use with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), or just registered with the WSDA.

This section provides requirements and procedures regarding:

See below for a link to advisory guidelines which supplement this policy.


Volunteers may not apply anything other than home-and-garden pesticides to WSU property. Coordinators who oversee Master Gardner (MG) gardens on WSU lands work with the local Research and Extension Center directors for access to licensed personnel who apply pesticides on their behalf. NOTE: All posting requirements must be met. Careful scheduling of applications to gardens with public access must be a priority.

Coordinators who oversee MG gardens in city or county parks are highly encouraged to have written agreements with city or county park agencies. If WSU applies pesticides to an MG garden, the agreement should provide that WSU is to maintain the area and that WSU is in control and possession of the demonstration garden for the purpose of such maintenance. The MGs may then be able to apply general use pesticides using non-powered equipment. The agreement should also provide that the city or county agency is responsible for applying pesticides if those pesticides are not general use pesticides or if powered equipment is to be used for the application.


The University encourages any employee who advises on or works with pesticides to obtain and maintain a pesticide license in order to demonstrate her or his level of professional competency.

Personnel must obtain valid WSDA pesticide licenses prior to conducting the following types of work in the state of Washington:

See RCW 17.21.020 and WAC 16.228.1010 for definitions.

If personnel are not licensed, a licensed public operator must be within eyeshot and earshot and supervise the application at all times.

The University expects personnel applying pesticides to field plots in other states to obtain all necessary licenses or permits required by such states in advance of the applications.


The pesticide licensing requirements apply to those who engage in the work activities listed above at locations including, but not limited to, all demonstration gardens (e.g., Discovery Gardens), research plots, greenhouses, and general grounds and farm maintenance at any WSU location. Licenses are also required for application of restricted-use pesticides (RUP) or use-restricted pesticides (URP) on cooperator lands. (See 45.65 for definition of cooperator lands.)


Supervisors and unit heads must verify that appropriate licenses are held by subordinates in their respective areas. WSDA maintains a licensing search website which allows users to verify that a license has been issued to any particular individual or business. To access the WSDA Licensing Search website, go to:


Alternatively, supervisors and unit heads may contact the Pesticide Coordinator for assistance.

Public Operator

Faculty, staff, and students must have public operator licenses with appropriate endorsement categories for the applicable specific work areas in order to:

See RCW 17.21.220 and WAC 16-228-1545.

Faculty, staff and students must pass appropriate exams in order to obtain license endorsements.

A public operator license with appropriate endorsements allows the user to work in the following capacities:

Personnel who carry public operator licenses do not need to carry both public operator and public consultant licenses.

A licensed public operator may supervise unlicensed personnel only when he or she is physically present at the work site and in constant eye and ear contact during the application.

NOTE: Research faculty who apply general use pesticides through powered equipment only to their research plots are exempt from the public operator license requirement.

Public Consultant

Faculty, staff, and students who, as WSU representatives, recommend the use of non-home-and-garden pesticides must have public consultant licenses with appropriate endorsement categories for the specific areas in which they work. Faculty, staff and students must pass appropriate exams to obtain license endorsements. See RCW 17.21.220 and WAC 16-228-1545.

NOTE: A consultant license does not allow the individual to apply pesticides or supervise the use of pesticides by another person. A researcher who gives use instructions to a licensed technician must have an operator license, not a consultant license.

The University advises individuals working with plant growth regulators to obtain license endorsements in either the agricultural weed or the ornamental weed categories.


Each unit is responsible for creating and maintaining safe and healthy work environments. The University's Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department provides technical assistance to units on a variety of workplace safety topics, including chemical safety.

Cholinesterase Monitoring

Supervisors of pesticide handlers who use toxicity class I or II organophosphate or N-methyl-carbamate pesticides must contact EH&S for assistance in complying with state cholinesterase monitoring requirements. NOTE: Medical monitoring is also referred to in state rules and University policies as medical surveillance.

Further details regarding the state rules are available on the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) Cholinesterase Monitoring website at:


Related Safety Resources

In addition to applicable sections in the Safety Policies and Procedures Manual (SPPM), EH&S provides advisory fact sheets regarding:

HTML and PDF versions of the advisory fact sheets are available at the EH&S Factsheets website at:


Chemical safety information is also available from the L&I website at:



The federal government enacted the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) (40 CFR 170) to protect workers (faculty, staff, and volunteers) from occupational exposure to agricultural pesticides. Both WSDA and L&I conduct compliance audits for WPS.

The key feature of this legislation is that use of any pesticide which carries an "Agricultural Use Requirement" section on the label requires compliance with the WPS. Such labeling is also referred to as WPS labeling. For purposes of the WPS, the University is viewed as an agricultural establishment growing agricultural plants if any unit, college, or farm uses a pesticide product which carries the WPS/Agricultural Use Requirement labeling.

Under WPS, employees are divided into two categories.

Educational facilities are clearly covered in WPS interpretive guidelines. Although WPS compliance is not required when employees perform landscape maintenance duties, or when researchers use unregistered pesticides (i.e., numbered compounds), supervisors must promote safe work environments in all cases. (NOTE: Other L&I standards cover employees performing landscape maintenance. See WAC 296-62.)

Summary of Worker Protection Requirements

Additional WPS information is available on the WSDA Worker Protection website at:


Protection During Applications

Applicators are prohibited from applying pesticides in ways that expose workers or other persons. Workers must be excluded from areas while pesticides are being applied.

Restricted-Entry Intervals

Restricted-entry intervals must be specified on all agricultural plant pesticide product labels. Workers are excluded from entering a pesticide-treated area during the restricted entry interval, with few narrow exceptions. There is a no-entry period for workers of four hours after application for all products with WPS labeling; this means no early entry, unless the workers are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). (See below.)

Personal Protective Equipment

Units must provide and maintain PPE for handlers and early-entry workers. The PPE must meet label requirements.

NOTE: Employees wearing respirators, including N95s (particulate-filtering facepiece respirators), must comply with the requirements of the University's respiratory protection program (SPPM 3.24). The respiratory protection program requirements include medical clearance, fit-testing, and training. Supervisors may contact EH&S to determine if unit employees need to be included in the respiratory protection program.

Notification of Workers

Units must notify workers about treated areas in order to avoid inadvertent exposures.

Decontamination Supplies

Units must provide access to the following decontamination supplies for personnel who may be exposed to pesticides.

All Employees

Units must provide water, soap, and single-use towels in quantities sufficient to meet the needs of all employees. Units must ensure that the quality and temperature of any water available to workers will not cause illness or injury upon contact with skin or eyes or if swallowed. Decontamination supplies must be:


Units must provide adequate water for routine washing and emergency eye flushing for all pesticide workers. (See SPPM 5.15.)


Units must provide adequate water for all pesticide handlers to enable:

Units must provide at least ten gallons of water for one employee and twenty gallons of water for two or more employees at mixing and loading sites that do not have running water. (See also SPPM 5.15.)

Emergency Assistance

Units must make transportation to a medical care facility available to any worker or handler who may have been poisoned or injured.

Units must provide information to the employee and the medical attendant regarding the pesticide to which the employee may have been exposed.

Pesticide Safety Posters

Units with personnel who use or may be exposed to pesticides are required to display a pesticide safety poster. Pesticide safety posters are available for purchase from the website of the EPA Pesticide Programs' official vendor, Gempler's, at:


Pesticide Safety Training

Units must ensure that all pesticide workers and handlers complete pesticide safety training. Supervisors are responsible for providing and documenting the training. (See below and below.)

Training for Workers

Pesticide safety training for workers must include, at a minimum, the following information:

(WAC 296-307-12040)

Training for Handlers

Pesticide safety training for handlers must include, at a minimum, the following information:

(WAC 296-307-13025)

Access to Labeling and Site Specific Information

Units must inform handlers and workers of pesticide label requirements. Units must post information regarding recent pesticide applications (within the last 30 days) in central locations.


This section (45.69) gives instructions for recordkeeping following application of registered pesticides for registered uses. A following section, 45.70, describes recordkeeping requirements following application of unregistered pesticides or registered pesticides used in an experimental manner.

All licensed applicators who apply pesticides at any location, and all persons applying pesticides to more than one acre of agricultural land in a calendar year, must keep records of such applications.

Registered pesticide application records must be:

See 90.01 for further information regarding University records retention requirements.

Recordkeeping Forms

Personnel may either use appropriate WSDA recordkeeping forms or may design a custom form using the required elements and submit it to WSDA for advance approval. The unit or committee retains the WSDA's approval letter with the application records. WSDA recordkeeping forms are available from the WSDA Compliance Activites website at:


Refer to RCW 17.21.100 for a list of the required report elements.

The advantage of designing a form is that it allows the researchers to customize the form to fit with existing experimental design records or clientele reporting requirements.


Several advisory guidelines supplement the policy information. The advisory guidelines are available on the WSU Employee Resources section of the Washington State Pest Management Resources website at:


The advisory guidelines include, but are not limited to: