Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
The agrichemical product's label will give you information about the minimum PPE required for its safe application. Additional information can be found on the product's Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Where more than one agrichemical is being mixed or applied, the protective clothing applicable to the most hazardous agrichemical should be worn.
Remember that the concentrated chemical is the most hazardous so you may wish to wear additional PPE during mixing.
Commonly used PPE in agrichemical spraying include:
- Protective spray suit/apron: Unless working above shoulder height, always wear your spray suit outside your gloves and boots. For mixing agrichemicals, an impermeable apron may be appropriate. Put protective clothing on before mixing and spraying, and while cleaning up equipment.
- Gloves: Nitrile gloves are the most versatile for handling agrichemicals. PVC gloves are also adequate. Never wear rubber products when handling horticultural pesticides because they can react with some substances and dissolve.
- Eye/face protection: Goggles or a face shield may be appropriate. Wear safety glasses, goggles or a face shield when mixing pesticides and whenever there is a possibility of spray drift. Spraying while wearing soft contact lenses is not advised.
- Respirators: A face mask should be adjusted to fit comfortably over your nose and mouth so that any air you breathe in must only be drawn through the filter (and not around the edges of the mask). Make sure you choose the right respirator, especially its filter (filter cartridges suitable for agrichemical use will have a brown band). Replace filters after about 6 months - irrespective of the amount of time they have been used - or immediately if you start tasting or smelling the fumes or have difficulty breathing while using the mask.
||For information on cleaning PPE, see the 'After Spraying ' section of this online manual.
Remember that PPE is used to minimise the exposure to hazards - but is not a solution for controlling hazards by elimination or isolation.
The HSW Act has specific requirements regarding PPE including that:
- the employer must provide safety equipment and clothing free of charge, and ensure that it is accessible and used
- information regarding the protection and correct use of the PPE should be provided
- the employer provides training in the use, maintenance, cleaning, storing and inspection of the PPE and damaged PPE must be replaced immediately
- employees also have a responsibility for their own safety.
||The Worksafe NZ website provides more details surrounding these requirements from an employer's point of view.