This exploratory study was undertaken in an attempt to analyse how safe working habits of the handling of pesticides by manual workers in foliage farms in Sri Lanka affect work motivation and to propose strategies to improve work motivation. The study was conducted on five foliage plant exporting companies located within the Negombo area in Sri Lanka and the sample consisted of ten executives and hundred manual workers. Data were collected using questionnaires administered through structured interviews and by observations. Work motivation has been measured indirectly through workers’ attitude, degree of happiness and satisfaction. Independent variables of the study were existing working conditions, safety precautions taken in the use of pesticides and workers’ attitude towards handling pesticides. Six other factors contributory towards work motivation were also studied. The study proved that work motivation has a relationship with three independent variables. Strategies of reinforcement of safe working habits and strategies on other aspects of working were recommended to improve work motivation.