What you need to know

Pesticides can cause serious skin and respiratory complaints. The law says that employers must take every to protect employees from the effect of pesticides. In tree work pesticides are used in a number of different ways. Many pesticides are applied using hand-held equipment such as a knap sack sprayer. Alternatively, workers involved with planting trees may plant saplings that have been pre-treated with pesticide products.

What employers need to do

  • Consider weather conditions when planning to spray pesticides.
  • Ensure that people who work with pesticides are trained and competent for the task and hold the appropriate Certificate of Competence issued by the National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) or Scottish Skills Testing Service (SSTS).
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) including:
    • Protective bib and brace overall with protective elbow-length gloves, or wrist-length gloves (Nitrile, minimum 0.5 mm thickness, complying with EN 374) with cuffs inside protective (plastic) elasticated elbow-length sleevelets; or
    • A suitable two-piece suit and wrist-length gloves with cuffs inside the jacket sleeves safety wellingtons or water-repellent boots with a good grip (complying with BS EN ISO 20345:2004), to be worn inside trouser legs.
  • Ensure that personal clothing is clean and stored away from sources of contamination. Replace damaged items promptly, especially gloves.

Read the label

Read the pesticide product label carefully (or the text of any off-label approval) and fulfil the legal requirement to comply with its contents about

  • The crop or pest that may be treated
  • The maximum dose rate of the product
  • Operator protection and training
  • Environmental protection.
  • Read and act on any other advice on the product label.

What workers need to do

  • See Are you a sprayer?
  • Use the personal protective equipment (PPR) your employer supplies.
  • Always put on and take off your protective clothing in the correct order to avoid touching contaminated surfaces.

At the end of each work period:

  • Thoroughly wash the outsides of gloves in soap and water and wipe off surplus moisture thoroughly wash down the overall/suit remove protective clothing in the correct order thoroughly wash hands in soap and water and dry well.
  • Tell your employer if your protective clothing is damaged or worn out

Find out more

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