Personal Protective Equipment for Working with Pesticides
14 Apr 2020 - Flaaim
Minimal PPE or Personal Protective Equipment, handling instruction and other safety measures are provided in the pesticide label to minimize your employees’ or your exposure when handling pesticides.
So, in simple words, it can be defined as the clothing and devices which one wear in order to protect themselves from any hazardous contact with pesticide. Thus, it is necessary to reduce exposure which can lower the chances of poisoning, illness, injury associated with working with pesticides. Here it is important to mention that this protective gear and devices can only reduce the chance of exposure to pesticide and not completely eliminate it. So, proper and accurate PPE selection, use and care are vital steps.
What does it include?
Basic protective work clothing will include socks with closed toed shoes, long pants and long-sleeve shirt. However, according to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), it must include apron, coveralls, headgear, respirators, eyewear, footwear and gloves.
To ensure proper safety while loading, mixing, handling and applying pesticides, manufacturers provide PPE guidance. Some information provided, however, may be difficult to understand. It has been observed that most people have problem in understanding the concept of chemical-resistant protective clothing. The label will include chemical-resistance category which is divided into A-H. You have to change the gear and devices you will be wearing before they reach the resistant time period for the material.
Chemical-resistant materials is used as it can prevent the measurable movement of different toxic chemicals (pesticide in this case) through the material to the wearer’s skin for a limited time period. So, you have to choose materials that best matches the time period or length of time you can handle pesticide for or the time period before it becomes necessary to change into a fresh pair
Only the solvents used in a pesticide are used as determinants for the mentioned chemical resistant categories. Active ingredients will not be taken into consideration for the same. Thus, same pesticide with different formulations will need PPE of different chemical-resistant categories.
Caring for PPE
Personal Protective Equipment can be re-used, so you need to know exactly how you have to clean and care for it. When buying the equipment make sure to read the manufacturer’s instruction. The methods or ways to clean them will be provided by the manufacturer, and you need to follow it to the tee to be safe.
However, most equipment does not come with cleaning instruction. In such a case, you need to wash or decontaminate them thoroughly with heavy-duty detergent and hot water at the end of the work day. You can dry it overnight before using it again the next day. To dry them, you need to hang them where it comes in contact with direct sunlight for at least few hours. This will further break-down any pesticide residue.
Coveralls and clothes can be washed in a washer-dryer. However, protective suits, gloves, googles, boots, aprons and eyewear should be hand washed. While cleaning them, it is necessary to wear protective gloves so that contamination does not occur.
If you need to work with pesticides then you must have a separate room where you store them along with other chemicals. It is highly advisable that you do not keep your clean protective gears along with respirators in that room to avoid contamination. You need to find a space where no chemicals and no personal items and/or personal clothes are kept. Until the used gears are reclaimed for spraying during lunch breaks, they should be hung in a safe and confined space.