Who is protected by the Worker Protection Standards?

The WPS protects employees on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses from occupational exposure to agricultural pesticides and covers two types of employees:

  • Pesticide handlers: those who:
    • mix, load or apply agricultural pesticides;
    • clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or
    • assist with the application of pesticides.
  • Agricultural workers: those who perform tasks related to growing and harvesting plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries or forests.
  • Workers include anyone employed for any type of compensation (including self-employed) doing tasks such as:
    • carrying nursery stock;
    • repotting plants;
    • watering; or
    • other tasks directly related to the production of agricultural plants on an agricultural establishment.
  • Workers do NOT include employees such as:
    • office employees;
    • truck drivers;
    • mechanic; and
    • any other workers not engaged in worker/handler activities.

Some requirements apply to anyone doing certain tasks, such as handling pesticide application equipment or cleaning or laundering pesticide-contaminated personal protective equipment.

WPS Training Resources

2015 Revised WPS Compliance Timeline

Date Compliance
January 2, 2016 Revised WPS final rule is effective. Compliance of existing WPS rules (Subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) is required.
January 2, 2017 Compliance is required with MOST of the revised WPS regulation (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170)
January 2, 2018 Compliance is required with ALL of the revised WPS requirements (Subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170)
Including new content on pesticide safety information display (170.311(a)(3))
Covering new content in worker and handler training (170.401(c)(3) and 170.501(c)(3))
Suspension of applications by handlers if anyone is in the application exclusion zone (170.505(b))

Pesticide Poisoning Information

For information on how to handle a pesticide poisoning, call the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378 (toll-free to any caller in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands).

Some symptoms of pesticide poisoning can be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses, such as the flu. When pesticide handlers become ill from working with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides in warm and hot environments, it is sometimes hard to tell whether the person is suffering from heat exhaustion or pesticide poisoning. The table below compares the symptoms.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion vs Pesticide Poisoning

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion Symptoms of Organophosphate/Carbamate (Pesticide) Poisoning
Sweating Sweating
Headache Headache
Fatigue Fatigue
Dry membranes Moist membranes
Dry mouth Salivation
No tears Tears
No spit present Spit present in mouth
Fast pulse (slow if person has fainted) Slow pulse
Nausea Nausea and diarrhea
Dilated pupils Possibly small pupils
Central nervous system depression Central nervous system depression
Loss of coordination Loss of coordination
Confusion Confusion
Fainting (prompt recovery) Coma (can't waken)


For additional information about WPS or compliance assistance, please contact your local field office.

Pesticide Program News

Now Hiring Chemist

Position Based in Bozeman

Now Hiring Chemist

The Montana Department of Agriculture is currently hiring a Chemist based in Bozeman. Applications will be accepted until August 10, 2019. Visit the Employment page for more info and other job openings with the Montana Department of Agriculture.

New Resource: Pest Management Practices for Hemp Growers in Montana

New Resource: Pest Management Practices for Hemp Growers in Montana

Hemp pests vary according to production type (grain, fiber, flower, etc.), whether the plants are grown indoors or outdoors, and where the plants are grown geographically. The pests included in this review are preliminary and based on the findings of other states, MDA staff, and professionals cited. 

Click here to view/download Pest Management Practices for Hemp Growers in Montana (.pdf format)

Click here for more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture Hemp Program.

Click here for more information on pesticide usage in Montana.

Linda Johns
Pesticide Licensing, Registration, & Training Program Manager

Phone : (406) 444-3676
E-mail : LJohns@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601


Jolene Hendrix
Training/Development Specialist

Phone : (406) 444-3732
E-mail : Jolene.Hendrix@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

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Pesticide Worker Protection Standards Forms & Files

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