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

Recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC)

Applications due by April 12, 2019

Recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC)

The Montana Department of Agriculture is recruiting members for the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC). Applications are due by April 12, 2019.

Members of the NWMAC provide guidance to the Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Program, which assists Montana counties, local and tribal communities, researchers and educators in efforts to combat noxious weeds. Reviewing grant applications requires a considerable amount of time in addition to attending the grant hearings which typically last five days. After the Noxious Weed Trust Fund grant hearings, held annually in March, the NWMAC recommends and presents funding counsel to the Director for approval.

Open Positions:

  • Livestock Production Representative
  • Herbicide Dealer or Applicator
  • Biological Research and Control Interests Representative
  • Western County Weed District Representative
  • Agriculture Crop Production Representative

Please apply and submit a letter of interest to the Montana Department of Agriculture, Attn: Ben Thomas, PO Box 200201, Helena, MT, 59620-0201; cbay@mt.gov.

Click here to download the Application Form.

2019 Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Hearings Agenda

Hearing will be held at the DoubleTree in Helena on March 4 - March 8

2019 Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Hearings Agenda

Click here to download the full 2019 Noxious Weed Trust Fund Grant Hearing agenda. Hearing will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton - Helena Downtown, 22 N. Last Chance Gulch, on March 4 - March 8, 2019. 

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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