Exposure to pesticides can be mitigated by practicing good work habits and adopting modern pesticide mix/load equipment (e.g., closed loading) that reduce potential exposure. PPE, such as specific types of clothing, goggles, respirators, etc., protects workers from exposure through one or more pathways: skin, eyes, oral ingestion, or respiratory tract. Pesticide labels list legal requirements for minimum PPE. SDS also provide information on appropriate PPE to wear while handling the product as formulated. To avoid contamination, PPE should not be stored in a pesticide storage area. For more information, see Chapter 6 “Personal Protective Equipment” of the Maryland Pesticide Applicator Core Manual.
Best Management Practices
- Provide adequate PPE for all employees who work with pesticides (including equipment technicians who service pesticide application equipment).
- Ensure that PPE is sized appropriately for each person using it.
- Make certain that PPE is appropriate for the chemicals used as listed on the pesticide label.
- Ensure that PPE meets rigorous testing standards and is not just the least expensive.
- Store PPE where it is easily accessible but not in the pesticide storage area.
- Forbid employees who apply pesticides from wearing facility uniforms home.
- Provide laundering facilities or uniform service for employee uniforms.
- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to fit test workers who must wear tight-fitting respirators.
- Meet requirements for OSHA 1910.134 Respiratory Protection Program.