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Storage & Handling of Pesticides
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Storage & Handling of Pesticides

Signs of Pesticide Poisoning.

1. Cholinesterase inhibitors.
All employees working with pesticides should be familiar with the signs of poisoning due to inhibition of cholinesterase. These pesticides include: Betasan, Dursban, Diazinon, Dylox, Orthene, Aspon, Sevin and Oftanol. Among the earliest signs of poisoning by these insecticides are blurred vision, tightness of the chest, vomiting and diarrhea. Body temperature is not affected. As the severity of the poisoning increases the signs include small pupillary size, salivation, sweating, muscle twitching and weakness, slurring of speech, mental confusion, disorientation and drowsiness. Further progression leads to difficulty in breathing which may be life threatening. The early signs of cholinesterase inhibition may be indistinguishable from mild influenza. Employees with these signs should request that their physician send and blood sample for determination of cholinesterase activity.

2. Phenoxy Herbicides.
2,4-D acid, salts, esters and amine and MCPP. Acute accidental poisoning by 2,4-D is rare. Concentrated solutions are irritating to the skin and eyes. Accidental or intentional swallowing of 2,4-D concentrates produces irritation of the amount and throat, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and chest pain. Uncoordinated muscle twitching and weakness may occur.

3. Arsenicals.
The arsenical herbicides cacodylic acid, DSMA and MSMA are mild skin irritants, but if ingested may produce a salty taste, a burning of the throat and colicky pains of the stomach and intestines. Vomiting and bloody diarrhea may occur.

4. Other Herbicides.
Although concentrated formulations may be eye or skin irritants, other toxic effects from human exposure to atrazine, dacthal, dicamba and other commonly used herbicides are not reported.

Handling Concentrated Acids or Bases. Any chemical solution with a pH value less than 3.0 or greater than 11.0 is considered to be corrosive to the eye or skin. This means that it may destroy the integrity of these tissues. The greater the concentration of the chemical, the greater the hazard. Concentrated phosphoric acid is used to decrease the pH of tank mixes.

When water is added to a concentrated acid or base or when concentrated acids or bases are mixed with each other, a very large amount of heat is generated. The resultant mixture may boil rapidly and vigorously with dangerous splashing or if confined explode.

To dilute concentrated acids or bases, always add a smaller amount of the concentrated acid or base to a larger volume of water.

If acids or bases splash on the skin or eye, dilute with large volumes of running water. Do not attempt to neutralize because the heat generated may result in a chemical burn.


Storage of Pesticides.
1. All pesticide storage areas should be secured to prevent theft or vandalism. Of particular concern is the potential for accidental exposures.
2. Store in a dry, well ventilated place at temperatures above freezing. Pesticide odors are often unpleasant, if not potentially toxic, and exhaust fans may be necessary to remove the vapors from the storage areas.
3. Keep pesticide containers tightly closed. Protect against odors from open bags by wrapping with polyethylene bags or inserting opened bag into labeled sealable pails.
4. Never transfer pesticides into food containers such as pop bottles or paper cups.
5. Never transfer pesticides into an unmarked or unlabeled container.
6. Do not store pesticides near offices, restrooms, or where food, seed or water can be contaminated.
7. As part of a monthly safety inspection, examine containers of pesticides for leaks and tears. Dispose of leaking and torn containers and clean up spilled or leaked material promptly.
8. Minimize storage of flammable liquids. Storage of flammable pesticides should meet standard of the local governmental unit.
9. Date all containers when received. Keep an inventory of all pesticides and include notations on batch or lot number in addition to date received.

Transportation of Concentrates.

1. Formulations or concentrates

  • every container must be labeled
  • transport in original labeled container
  • make certain that containers are tightly closed
  • do not transport in the cab of a truck or a closed vehicle (automobile)
  • protect bags from rain
  • protect all containers from puncturing, tearing, or rolling about
  • pesticide concentrates transported on tankers should be secured in a locked compartment
  • shipment must be accompanies by a bill of lading with appropriate DOT identification and placards

2. Tankers Containing Diluted End Use Product
  • keep copy of the label in the truck cab

3. Truck Safety Equipment. The following items of safety equipment should be present in every truck and checked on a daily basis:
  • Chock Block
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit
  • Eyewash Bottle (refill monthly)
  • Gloves (neoprene or natural rubber)
  • Wash Water Canister
  • Soap and Hand Towels
  • Flares (3)
  • Reflector Kit
  • Accident Report Form

Handling Pesticides.
Minimize exposures to pesticides by all reasonable means to prevent contact with the skin, accidental ingestions, or generation of respirable dust or aerosols.
  • wash hands after handling pesticides
  • shower as soon as possible at the end of the workday

Fill Procedures.
1. The fill area should be clearly outlined by painted lines or other means that clearly defines the fill area.
2. Filling with dry fertilizers only requires the following equipment to be worn:
  • Disposable dust mask or respirator without cartridge, but with dust filter
3. Filling with pesticides requires the following equipment to be worn:
  • Goggles or Face Shield
  • Head Gear
  • Coveralls or Apron
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Respirator with dust filter for powder insecticides
  • Disposable dust mask or respirator without cartridge but with dust filter with Dacthal or Benomyl
4. Full protective gear is not required when filling liquids via pump and meter. Eye protection must be worn any time concentrated pesticides are transferred under pressure.
5. Gloves must be worn when filling hand cans.
6. Drips, puddles and spills are to be cleaned up immediately after occurrence. Wear protective clothing and equipment. Contain with absorbent material or recycle into tanker. Place absorbed material into double line polyethylene bags, label with contents and store in metal drums temporarily.
7. Pesticide measuring containers are to be triple rinsed with Ľ to _ volume and rinsate disposed of in the tanker.
8. Floor areas in pesticide weighing location must be kept clean by washing materials to recycle pits wherever possible. Otherwise, use sheet plastic taped to floor in weigh area to prevent contamination of porous concrete surface. However, the use of recycle pits should not substitute for care in measuring and filling.

Spraying and/or Spreading Lawns, Trees and Shrubs.
1. With fertilizers only the following equipment is to be worn:

  • Boots
  • Gloves (optional)
2. With insecticides or liquid slow release nitrogen the following equipment is to be worn:
  • Boots
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Goggles for tall tree and high pressure spraying
  • Head gear for all tree spraying

Several Pesticide Safety Precautions.
1. Each employee must thoroughly wash with soap and water after filling with a pesticide.
2. Use of leaky guns or other leaky equipment must be terminated and repaired before further use.
3. When repairing equipment that could pose possible pesticide solution contact, i.d., diluted or concentrated, protective gear should be worn to avoid such skin contact.
4. No one should be permitted to enter a tank containing a pesticide solution. It must be emptied and flushed several times prior to entry. (See tank entry procedure.)
5. Each tanker, bubble or other production vehicle should carry soap and fresh water for washing if pesticides are being used.
6. No one should be permitted to spray pesticides, spread dry materials containing pesticides, or in any way handle pesticides if:
  • The individual has severe dermatitis. (Broken skin and blisters.)
  • The individual has sizable cuts, scratches, or bruises. Small cuts, scratches, and bruises must be thoroughly protected before handling pesticides in any manner.
7. Each employee should report to work with a clean uniform each day.

Personal Hygiene & Decontamination Procedures.
The following Sanitary Procedures will reduce the possibility of pesticide exposure.

1. Alter spray pattern to keep spray off feet and legs and avoid drift from overhead spraying.
2. After exposure to pesticides, wash thoroughly with soap and water before eating, smoking, or using restrooms.
3. Wear a clean uniform each day. Wash pesticide contaminated clothes separately from other clothing.
4. While spraying or spreading pesticides or using liquid slow release nitrogen, avoid wiping the face or other skin surfaces with hands and arms.
5. Remove gloves exposed to pesticides in a manner to avoid skin contact with the outside of the glove.
6. Be careful not to contaminate the inside of gloves with pesticides. If the inside of the gloves become contaminated, discard them immediately. Wash gloves with soap and water daily or more frequently if they become contaminated. Replace gloves often, they are inexpensive but important.
7. Shower as soon as possible at the end of the day.
8. Gloves, boots and last six feet of hose should be decontaminated weekly with undiluted household bleach or household ammonia solution. Caution: these are eye and skin irritants. Allow contact for at least 15 minutes. Gloves may be soaked overnight, but should be rinsed with water and air dried before us. Do not mix bleach and ammonia. The mixture releases toxic chlorine gas.
9. While gloves are no longer mandatory while spraying lawns with general pesticides, we will encourage their use, especially among beginning lawn specialists.
10. Do not mouth siphon or pipette pesticide solutions. Do not place nozzles or jets to the mouth for blowing out clogged materials.

Tank Entry Procedure.
1. No one should enter a tank, whether it be truck or storage, unless it is determined to be safe to enter by their manager. The following procedures are intended for tanks that have contained fertilizer or end use dilutions of pesticides:
2. To be safe, the tank must be completely emptied and flushed repeatedly with water. Then, a fan must be used to blow fresh air into the tank to purge the tank for at least one(1) hour. There must be other openings for the air to escape or a flexible hose must be inserted into the tank blowing fresh air. The fan must be running continuously while anyone is inside the tank.
3. The personal protective clothing and equipment of the type used for filling pesticides must be worn in the tank. The gloves and coveralls should be discarded after the tank has been serviced. Goggles or safety glasses should be worn. Chipping and scraping create eye hazards.
4. Lighting should be provided by a battery powered system, or if supplied by an electrical drop cord the cord should be heavy duty and the electrical circuit provided with a ground fault interrupter. The bulb should be protected with a guard to reduce potential for shock hazard should a bulk break in the tanker while in use.
5. Smoking is not permitted while working inside tanks.
6. Solvents or paints should not be permitted to be used inside tanks.
7. One person should not work in a tank more than one (1) hour per day.
8. There should be a helper outside in communication with the man inside at all times while a worker is in the tank. Provisions must be made to be able to remove the person from the tank at any time.

A general attitude of SAFETY FIRST must prevail.

Personal Protective Equipment, Specifications and Care.

1. Boots
1. With insecticides, liquid-slow release nitrogen. Boots should be of natural rubber of neoprene, should be 10 to 12 inches high and may be the type worn over the shoe or without shoes. Boot tops are not to be rolled down below the 10 inch level. Boots that leak must be replaced immediately.

Boots should not be worn in a customer's home and should be decontaminated weekly with bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlonte) or household ammonia.

2. Fertilization only. Boots made of a variety of materials that are waterproof and do not crack readily are acceptable. They must cover the ankle and may be the type worn over the shoe or without shoes.

2. Gloves.
Gloves worn during filling of pesticides must be made of neoprene, rubber or viton. No part of the glove, either inside or out, may be made of absorbent cloth material. Gloves that leak are to be discarded immediately. Handling of fertilizers may be done with other waterproof gloves. Wash gloves with soap and water before removing them whenever possible. Otherwise, remove gloves exposed to pesticides in a manner to avoid skin contact. If the inside of the gloves become contaminated, discard them. Gloves should be decontaminated weekly by soaking in bleach or household ammonia. Rinse thoroughly (3 times) with water and dry before reuse.

3. Coveralls and Uniforms.
Coveralls or aprons worn during fill procedures may be either disposable (Tyvek) or washable type. ANY UNIFORM SHOULD BE CHANGED AFTER A KNOWN CONTAMINATION WITH PESTICIDE CONCENTRATES OR IF WETTED FROM ACCIDENTAL DRIFT OR SPILLS, BROKEN HOSES, OR DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT. Washable coveralls should be laundered on a weekly basis and disposable coveralls should be replaced on a weekly basis.

Laundering of uniforms is discussed on page 2-2.

4. Eye Protection.
Protective plastic goggles with vented template or a full face shield attached to a headgear should be worn to protect the eyes from splashing during filling. Goggles with vented templates should be used with tall tree spraying.

5. Headgear.
Hard hat with washable non-absorbent exterior surface or other waterproof headgear, such as a rain hat should be worn when filling or spraying above the head.

6. Respiratory Protection.
For occupational safety, a respirator by definition is a device that protects the wearer from inhaling toxic materials present in the atmosphere. It must cover the nose and mouth and filter out the toxic material, or it must provide a separate source of air of acceptable quality. There are two classifications of respirators.

1. air supplying
2. air purifying

Air supplying respirators, often called self-contained breathing apparatus, provide greater protection than air purifying respirators but are cumbersome to use. Because they provide the total supply of inhaled air, it is important to know the time limit of the air supply tank.

Air purifying respirators require a negative pressure within the face piece in order to direct all inhaled air through the air purifying filters and/or cartridges. In order to create negative pressure, the face piece of the respirator must be fitted to obtain a tight seal against the face. Facial hair, that is beards, prevent adequate fitting of respirators. A leak in the seal of a negative pressure respirator will result in contaminated air bypassing the filter and directly entering the respiratory tract. Filters and chemical absorption cartridges have a limited time period in which they are effective and must be changed periodically. The type of chemical absorption cartridge selection and replacement are important for effective use of respirators.

A respirator may have a mask that covers the full face from chin to hairline and from ear to ear. The mask is recommended for the more toxic atmospheres and when the contaminants are irritating to the eyes. Although it is often difficult to fit a full face mask over eyeglasses, contact lenses should not be worn with full face respirators because adjusting the face piece or other activity that may dislodge the lenses requires removal of the mask to correct the problem. A more commonly used mask is a half-mask that covers the nose, mouth and chin.

All respirators use exhalation valves to allow moist exhaled air to bypass the filter cartridge mechanism. This prevents moisture in exhaled air from contacting the filter and also decreases breathing resistance. It is important that the exhalation valve is clean and operable, otherwise on inhalation when the valve is closed but leaking, contaminated air may enter the mask and lungs.

Suggested Respirator Policy
1. When filling with powdered pesticide formulations, a disposable cartridge respirator with dust and mist filter should be worn. When bucket filling with liquid pesticides, wearing of a respirator is optional but eye protection, preferably a face shield, is required.
2. Wearing a respirator is not required when spraying diluted pesticides; however, a respirator should be made available to any employee who wishes to wear one, in situations where inhalation of drift cannot be avoided, a dust and mist mask or respirator should be worn.
3. Tank entry. A respirator must be worn when entering a tank that has contained diluted pesticides, unless the tank has previously been cleaned.
4. Respirator selection. Respirators and cartridges should be NIOSH approved pesticide respirators. These are air purifying respirators and should not be used in a low oxygen (<19.5% O2) environment. These respirators do not provide safe respiratory protection for fire fighting or fire rescue procedures and should not be worn for this purpose. Disposable masks for dusts and mists (i.e. 3M dust and mist masks) are not synonymous with "respirator".
5. Respirator fitting. A respirator must provide a good face seal to be effective. Because of differences in the anatomy of the face, there is no respirator that will fit all individuals. A qualitative fit test should be made:
i. Use ampules containing iso-amylacetate (banana oil) or a cotton tipped swab dipped into iso-amylacetate (press out excess). Ask the wearer to tell you if an odor is detected.
ii. With the mask adjusted, pass the banana oil ampule or swab slowly around the peripheries of the face piece, holding the ampule or swab for short periods of time at the canister or filter element. Instruct the wearer to tilt his/her head back and from side to side. Pass the banana oil under the chin at the edge of the fact mask.
iii. Detection of the banana oil odor indicates that the mask is defective or does not fit. Readjust the harness and repeat. If the mask fails the above inspection, it should not be used by the test subject.
iv. Use of a stannic chloride smoke generator may be used instead of banana oil. The stannic chloride is an irritant and will elicit coughing if the mask is defective or not properly fitted. Because the smoke is an irritant, the eyes of the wearer should be closed during the test.
v. Each time a respirator is worn it should be tested for proper fit by placing the palm of the hand over the exhalation valve to obstruct flow. Exhale to cause pressure inside the face piece. There should be resistance to slight positive pressure without leaking. If exhaled air escapes around the face seal readjust the headband and retest.
6. Respirators worn by more than one person should be disinfected after each use. The rubber face seal should be wiped with either 70% alcohol, diluted bleach (50 ppm), diluted iodine such as Betadine® or diluted Lysol®. Disposable alcohol swabs are convenient for this purpose. The respirator should be cleaned daily with detergent and water, unless it is a disposable respirator. Each time the cartridge is changed, the cartridge should be marked with the date of installation. It is suggested that a hash mark system be used to record ˝ hour incremental periods of use so that the effective use period of the cartridge is not exceeded. Respirator cartridges should be changed any time there is odor detection in the presence of a good face seal.
7. Respirators should be stored in a location where they will not become contaminated by pesticides. They should be stored either in the form fitted container or positioned so that the face piece and exhalation valve will rest in a normal position. The respirator should be enclosed in a plastic bag to preserve the effectiveness of the cartridge.


While we are concerned about safety for our employees, we are also concerned about safety for our customers, their families and pets and the environment in which we all work and live. Thus, we want to select and use pesticides in a manner that will not adversely affect non-target species of plants, birds and other wildlife.

Application of materials in any form should not be done in the presence of onlookers whether customers, non-customers or especially curious children in order to avoid any possibility of accidental contact with spray solutions or granular formulations. Be alert to avoid open windows behind shrubbery that is to be sprayed. Pick up toys and place them where contact with chemicals will not occur.

Do not apply materials if pets are in the yard. Ask the customer to take the pet into the house. Empty and turn over any feeding bowls, water dishes or bird baths. Do not empty feeding bowls in an area where contamination with pesticides may occur. Ask customers to keep children and pets away from sprayed areas until dry.

Do not treat areas of trees or shrubs where there are active bird nests, and notify the customer that because of the bird nest there may be some compromise in program results in those untreated areas. In many areas beekeepers are registered and should be notified when trees or other flowering shrubs are to be sprayed. Avoid the use of diazinon on lawns in lake areas where ducks and geese are present. They are grass feeders and are sensitive to diazinon.

Some customers and their neighbors have multiple allergies or are unusually sensitive in allergic response to chemicals. None of the chemicals we use are strong sensitizers or producers of allergic responses. However, there are almost no chemicals for which one can say there are no sensitized or allergic individuals. The incidence rate for complaints of hives or other allergic responses is very low; nevertheless, this is an issue to which we must be sensitive and understanding.

Where we have identified that customers or neighbors are hypersensitive, we should notify them at least one day in advance of when their area is going to be treated. They are then given prior notification and can take steps to minimize their exposure to the treated areas or volatile chemicals. Based on past experience, it is rare to encounter a complaint that an allergic response occurred beyond a 48-hour period following pesticide applications.

Drift should be of continuous concern. Neighbors who are not on the program ordinarily do not want pesticides applied to their property without their knowledge. Use extra precautions around swimming pools and fish ponds. Fish are often the most sensitive species to pesticide toxicity. They generally have comparatively poor mechanisms for detoxifying and eliminating chemicals foreign to their own body. When water is contaminated, fish may be continuously exposed to the chemicals. Be aware of vegetable gardens, both in customers yard and neighboring property.

After applying granular pesticides, sweep any overcast granules from sidewalks, driveways or patios.

Exercise care to avoid contamination of streets, storm sewers, drainage ditches and other potential sources of runoff to streams and waterways. In no circumstance should tanks be cleaned or water intentionally discharged from a tank of any vehicle into a street, along a rural road or into a storm drain. Use recycling systems correctly. Do not squeegee water from wash and fill area out of the warehouse.

Be extra cautious in spraying around wells. Pesticides are fertilizers generally used by lawn care companies do not migrate very deeply into soil but seepage around a well casing or into an uncased well could lead to ground water contamination.

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