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Safety Precautions When Mixing and Preparing Crop Protection Products (pesticides) for Use
N.B. This is a text only version of the training module "Safety Precautions When Mixing and Preparing Crop Protection Products (pesticides) for Use" which is also available to download as a PowerPoint presentation or view as a Flash Movie
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Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: summary
- Always maintain high standards of hygiene when working with crop protection products (pesticides).
- Work in an area away from children and animals.
- Avoid any risk of polluting water courses.
- Ensure you understand the product label information: especially product dose rate and safety requirements when mixing and preparing the product.
- Only use dedicated equipment for measuring and weighing products: Do not use food containers or cutlery.
- Wash all equipment and empty containers after the spraying job is completed.
- Store equipment safely away from animals and children.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: exposure risks
Most exposure to crop protection products (pesticides) by operators is when:
- Mixing and weighing out
- Working with a leaking sprayer
Measuring crop protection products (pesticides) for spraying
Accurate measurement of undiluted product is vital to ensuring that the correct dose is applied.
Only apply the prepared product solution using calibrated spray equipment.
Never exceed the label recommended dose.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: before starting
Before starting any spraying activity always:-
- Read and understand the product label
- Check the sprayer for leaks
- Ensure you have the correct PPE
- If you feel unwell then do not work with pesticides
Product Labels are the most critical information source
Notes to slide: The product label is very important. It is the most important piece of information which tells the user everything he needs to know to be able to use the product safely and effectively.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products; follow best practices
Never mix products or fill sprayers close to water courses, wells or where products could get into ground water.
Never decant products into other containers.
Always dispose of empty packaging and other contaminated waste following best practice.
An area to work in must:
- Have clean water available for washing
- Be free from obstructions and trip hazards
- Be free from children and animals
- Have an adequate water supply but is not too close to surface water or a well head
Preparing a spray mixture
Special care is necessary when handling concentrated products. Always follow the label recommendations for PPE.
Use a graduated measuring jug or measuring device supplied with the product to measure out required quantities. Never use old food containers, or spoons.
Minimum protective equipment: working with small sprayers
Working with undiluted product (mixing & measuring)
Notes to slide: Handling concentrate, when mixing and measuring, requires more protection. The minimum for handling liquid concentrate would be long sleeved shirt, long trousers, rubber boots, gloves preferably made from nitrile rubber, which is more resistant to most chemicals than natural rubber, and eye protection such as a faceshield or goggles . A faceshield is usually preferable to goggles, since it protects the whole face, not just the eyes, and is cooler to wear in hot climates.
Minimum protective equipment: working with larger sprayers
Loading a tractor mounted sprayer showing full PPE and ground protection to capture any spilled material.
Pouring and measuring out liquids: use safe practices
Pouring and Measuring out dry pesticide products: minimum protective equipment
Mixing & measuring dry products such as granules or powders
Notes to slide: When measuring and mixing powders, the addition of a dust mask is necessary to prevent any powder being inhaled. Some more toxic pesticides require more protection, such as an apron or respirator and the label should always be consulted for the recommended protection for the product.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: protecting hands
Personal Protective Clothing:
- Nitrile gloves give better skin protection compared with rubber gloves, especially when using EC formulations (solvent based).
- Gloves should be worn tucked into the sleeves to stop any spillage running into the gloves.
- If nothing else is available use small plastic bags to protect the hands. Only use these bags once.
- Never use absorbent gloves such as leather or cotton or bare hands.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: protecting face and body
Personal Protective Clothing
- Clear visor, goggles or safety glasses. A simple visor can be made from a clean plastic drinks bottle.
- Use a proper apron. If none available then a large heavy-duty plastic sack such as an empty fertiliser sack can be shaped into an apron to protect the front of the body.
Preparing a spray mixture of more than one pesticide product
If mixing several products in the spray tank -
- Check that the products are compatible.
- First half fill the tank with water
- General mixing rule: “First the solids, then the liquids” (see box)
- Stir with (for example) a stick; never by hand
- Add empty container washings to tank and fill with the rest of the water to make the required amount of spray solution
Follow this order when mixing:
Solid formulations first
WG < 100 g/ha
WG > 100 g/ha
Then follow with liquids
- WG = Water dispersible granules
- WSB = Water soluble bag
- WP = Wettable powder
- SC =Soluble concentrate
- SE =Suspo-emulsion
- EW = Emulsion (Oil in water)
- EC = Emulsifiable concentrate
- SL = Soluble concentrate
- Adjuvant= substance without CPP properties, added to improve effectiveness of the CPP
Mixing and preparing undiluted products: clean up spills
Always clean up any spills immediately, using absorbant material such as sawdust, soil - to soak up any spillage.
Collect up any spillage and contaminated waste, put into a strong bag or container and dispose of following local legislation and best practice.
Mixing and preparing undiluted pesticide products: safety
- Wash off any chemical product from skin immediately
- Do not eat, drink or smoke when handling chemicals.
- Do not leave products unattended and within reach of children or animals
- Clean all equipment after use and return unused product to the locked store
- Always wash after working with chemicals, starting from top downwards
- Take great care not to contaminate any drinking water sources
Crop Life's Guideline for the safe and effective use of crop protection products(7.4 Mb pdf file)
- Have some product labels available.
- Show examples of measuring devices
- What are the PPE requirements when mixing liquid and solid formulations?
- What safety measures must be taken into consideration when mixing and weighing? (Should be able to give at least 7 answers).
- Identify the pictograms on a product label.