Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Safe use of pesticides

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Pesticides are a common household item, but you must still take the precautions outlined here when using them.

  1. Pesticides in your workplace
  2. Read the label
  3. Storing the hazardous substance
  4. Protective clothing
  5. Apply hazardous substances safely
  6. Clean up
  7. Transport
  8. Care for the environment
  9. First Aid procedures
  10. Use the following checklist to help identify pesticide use in your workplace

Pesticides in your workplace

To get the most out of this policy, do the following things first.

  • Make a list of all the hazardous substances on the premises.
  • Check protective clothing to be used for handling hazardous substances. Does it comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations?
  • Write down how and where the hazardous substances are stored. Is anything else stored with them?
  • Write down current procedures for handling hazardous substances. Take into account:
    • training conducted
    • protective clothing
    • storage
    • decanting and mixing
    • use
    • disposal and transport
  • Consider that there may be other less hazardous means of control.

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Read the label

  • It identifies the hazardous substance’s properties and toxicity.
  • It provides a guide to safe handling, storage and use.
  • It will help you choose which chemical is least toxic to humans, but will still do the job. It provides first aid treatment advice. Make sure you have an antidote on hand.
  • Additional information should be available in the form of a Material Data Safety Sheet. Demand one from your supplier.

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Storing the hazardous substance

  • Store in a well ventilated and well lit shed that is lockable and has an impervious floor and impervious shelving.
  • Keep away from animal feeds, fertilizers and seeds.
  • Store away from protective clothing and equipment.
  • Make sure a tap is located close to clean up any spills.
  • Store the hazardous substance in their original containers, with labels intact. Relabel containers if labels come off.
  • Separate hazardous substances that may react with one another.

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Protective clothing

  • Read the label and Material Safety Data Sheet for instructions on appropriate protective clothing to use during mixing and application.

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Apply hazardous substances safely

  • Prepare only enough for immediate use.
  • Keep a record of their use and results. Make sure equipment works well and doesn’t leak.
  • Spray with minimal drift and preferably in low wind conditions.
  • Cover feed and water containers near mixing or spraying.
  • Wash hands before going to the toilet, smoking or eating.
  • Wear protective clothing.

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Clean up

  • Thoroughly clean all spraying and protective equipment where run-off will not contaminate the environment or create a hazard.
  • Wash work clothing separately or dispose of as appropriate.
  • Wash exposed skin areas with soap and water, and rinse with clean water.

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Transport

  • Avoid transporting with food, water, animal feed or other reactive hazardous substances.
  • Secure hazardous substances on the vehicle so they don’t fall off.
  • Keep a list of the hazardous substances you are carrying.

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Care for the environment

  • Stick to recommended quantities and rates.
  • Observe the withholding periods stated on label.
  • Observe any warnings on the label regarding toxicity to non-target animals.

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First Aid procedures

  • For skin contact, wash with soap and water, and rinse with clean water.
  • For eye contact, hold eye open under running water for 15 minutes.
  • For swallowing, ring the Western Australian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

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Use the following checklist to help identify pesticide use in your workplace

  • Is there an awareness that using chemicals involves hazards?
  • Is the least toxic substance that will do the job used?
  • Is the information on the label read and followed?
  • Are Material Safety Data Sheets obtained from the supplier?
  • Are hazardous substances stored correctly?
  • Is appropriate protective clothing worn?
  • Is there a safe procedure for applying hazardous substances?
  • Is there a safe procedure for cleaning up?
  • Are hazardous substances transported safely?
  • Is training and supervision provided for employees using hazardous substances?

Consider your answers and, with the help of others in the workplace, work out a plan to ensure that the use of the chemical is as safe and healthy as practicable.

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