The Bugwood Network

Basic Pesticide Safety

Reemphasis of some of the important points


Basic Pesticide Safety: Method Selection

Use the method which

  • Is ecologically effective
  • Poses lowest risk to the human environment
  • Is cost effective

Not necessarily a pesticidal method.

  • If not – pesticide safety is not a concern

In this session we assume pesticide use.


Basic Pesticide Safety: Proper Use

Always treat pesticides with

  • Respect
    • Know the product
    • Know its limitations
    • Read the label
    • Know the label requirements
  • Care
    • Know the application equipment and its limits
    • Know and follow proper storage, transport and use procedures

Basic Pesticide Safety: Personnel Safety

  • Avoid contact with the pesticide
  • Wear all designated safety equipment
  • Be careful of drips and spills
  • Keep hands away from eyes and mouth
  • Wash your hands before
    • Smoking
    • Eating
    • Bathroom breaks

Designated safety equipment

  • Based on the WPS statement on the label & Regional requirements
  • Minimum in R-8
    • Long sleeved shirt & long pants of tightly woven material
    • Waterproofed boots
    • Goggles
    • Hard hat
    • Unlined nitrile gloves

Safety equipment

  • Requirement for nitrile gloves is in conflict with F.S. fire regs if you are working a fire in a recently treated area
  • Fire regulations say leather gloves, chemical presence requires nitrile
  • Unresolved at present-waterproofed leather gloves may ultimately be the compromise position
  • It is recommended that a tyvek suit be carried to the field
  • More for modesty should someone have to change out of contaminated clothes
  • Virtually useless in the briar patch

Basic Pesticide Safety: Accidental Contact

If you contact a pesticide

  • Clean the body parts contacted
    • Immediately, and
    • Thoroughly
  • Change clothes if necessary
  • Apply First-Aid, if necessary
  • If pesticide was swallowed, if it has gotten into the eyes, or if the person contacted is showing any symptoms resulting from the contact – get him or her to a doctor immediately

Basic Pesticide Safety: Serious Exposure

If you have to go to a doctor

  • Notify your dispatcher and have them determine which doctor and prearrange for you to be seen immediately
  • (Which doctor should be determined from your previously prepared Spill Plan which is filed at the dispatcher’s desk)
  • Carry a copy of the label and MSDS to the doctor

Basic Pesticide Safety: Transport

  • Do not carry pesticides in the passenger compartment of a vehicle
  • Do not carry "mixed loads. "
    • Carry herbicides separately from insecticides from fungicides, etc
    • Tie containers down to avoid bouncing them around
    • Licensing requirements (Hazmat drivers)

DOT regulations: loads greater than 1,000 pounds

  • HAZMAT certification
  • Any load greater than 1,000 pounds GROSS weight
    • With water weighing about 8 pounds per gallon this restricts the load to
    • Less than 100 gallons of formulated product OR of tank mix in water

Basic Pesticide Safety: Storage

  • Store pesticides in a separate building
  • Storage area should be locked
  • And, access should be strictly limited (in light of the current emphasis on Homeland Security – these common sense requirements have taken on an importance and life of their own!!)
  • Pesticides should be stacked separately
  • And, ideally, be separated by product type
  • A current inventory should be available at the dispatcher’s desk
  • Fire hazard signing should be accurate

Pesticide Safety- Fire Safety Sign



Pesticide Safety – Fire Sign Translated


Basic Pesticide Safety: Spills Preparation

Spill Plan

  • Template available
  • Customize it to the District – local doctors and emergency response team phone numbers and locations
  • Update for each ongoing project (labels & MSDSs)

Spill kit on truck

  • Contents listed last page of spill plan

Basic Pesticide Safety: Spill Plan Document

  • Typed and legible
  • Maintained current
  • Always available at dispatcher’s desk for ready access in the event of an emergency

Spill Plan Document: Page 1
Spill Plan Document: Page 2
Spill Plan Document: Page 3
Spill Plan Document: Page 4
Spill Plan Document: Page 5


Spill plan

  • Review before going to the field
  • In addition – carry label & MSDS to the field
  • Keep a copy of the current spill plan at the district dispatcher’s desk where it is readily accessed if needed

Basic Pesticide Safety: When a Spill Happens

  • Take care of injured personnel first!
  • Contain the spill
  • Get appropriate help

Reporting required:

  • Dispatcher
  • District Ranger
  • Forest Pesticide Coordinator
  • Forest Supervisor
  • Regional HAZMAT Coordinator

Basic Pesticide Safety: Forest Pesticide Coordinators

  • Alabama -- Jim Clute
  • Chatt-Oconee -- Pat Hopton (Tallulah RD)
  • Cherokee – Ed Brown
  • Daniel Boone -- Paul Finke
  • Florida -- Gary Hegg (Wakulla RD)
  • FMS -- Jay Purnell
  • GW/J – Russ MacFarlane
  • Kisatchie -- Finis Harris
  • Mississippi -- Jerry Windham
  • North Carolina – John Blanton
  • Ouachita -- Jack Courtenay
  • Ozark -- Jack Davis
  • Savannah River -- Jamie Scott
  • Texas -- Ron Haugen

Basic Pesticide Safety:Regional Hazmat Coordinator

Walt Sternke
Phone: 404-347-3369
Email: asternke@fs.fed.us


Basic Pesticide Safety: Environmental Concerns

  • Already mentioned spills
  • Caution must be taken to avoid
    • Drift
    • Leaching
    • Runoff
    • Other forms of off-site movement
  • Labels, MSDS, labeling and other documents help

Basic Pesticide Safety: Environmental Movement



Safety products catalogs


Basic Pesticide Safety: Low Risk Pesticide Use

  • Low-risk application is the focus of all of our safety messages with respect to pesticides
  • Most of the remainder of the session will deal with how to do it right

[  Contents  ]

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The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Thursday, November 07, 2002 at 01:15 PM
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