Safe pesticide handling
Chemicals used to manage insects, rodents, weeds, molds and germs all have the potential to cause harm to workers. Pesticides come in different forms, including sprays, liquids, powders, granulates, baits and foggers. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ontario, offers the following advice to help mitigate the risks associated with using pesticides:
- Choose the least hazardous product for the task being performed.
- Keep the label intact and make sure it is readable.
- Only use product as intended, and never use additional pesticide for an increased effect.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, long pants, boots, a faceshield, a hat and goggles.
- Thoroughly clean all spills and isolate the spill area.
- Do not burn pesticides or pour them down a drain.
- Wash skin and change clothes after using a pesticide.
- Discard contaminated leather boots, shoes and belts.
- Clearly label treated surfaces where residue may remain.
- Keep people away from the applied area until the pesticide has dried.
- Ventilate areas where chemicals are mixed.
- Mix at the recommended rate and only use the amount directed by the label.
- Avoid creating dusts or splashes.
- Keep containers below eye level.
- Never transfer pesticides into cups or bowls that may be confused with food containers.
- Lock pesticide storage areas.
- Post warning signs on entrances and walls.
- Maintain an inventory of the quantity, type and age of products.
- Place products on non-absorbent shelves and upright and off the floor.
- Keep pesticides away from highly permeable soil and areas that may flood.
- Store pesticides in a temperature-controlled environment.
- Check containers for leaks or defects and tightly seal and store in original containers.
- Separate pesticides from flammable and combustible materials.
- Keep spill-cleaning equipment and a first aid kit outside or near storage areas.
- Keep pesticides away from food, utensils or water.