Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky

Pesticide Worker Protection Standards

Who is protected by the Worker Protection Standards?

Hazmat SuitThe 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

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)

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