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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

New Vertebrate Pest Bulletin: Living with Montana's Snakes

Info on Montana's snakes, how to identify them, and snake control

New Vertebrate Pest Bulletin: Living with Montana's Snakes

Click here to view/download Living with Montana's Snakes, the new Vertebrate Pest Bulletin from Montana Department of Agriculture Vertebrate Pest Specialist Stephen Vantassel, and click here to visit the Vertebrate Pests page for more bulletins and info about the Department's Vertebrate Pest Program.

Public Meeting Notice: Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council Meeting Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The meeting will be held at the Comfort Inn in Shelby

Public Meeting Notice:  Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council Meeting Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Helena, Mont. – The Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council will meet from 1:00-4:00 pm on Wednesday, July 11th, in Shelby at the Comfort Inn (455 McKinley Ave.). A draft agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Linda Johns
Pesticide Licensing, Registration, & Training Program Manager

Phone : (406) 444-3676
E-mail :
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601


Jolene Warnke-Roszel
Training/Development Specialist

Phone : (406) 444-3732
E-mail :
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

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Pesticide Worker Protection Standards Forms & Files

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