Prevention - protect yourself against plant protection products

You need to have a basic personal protective equipment when handling plant protection products. It also needs to be taken care of in the right way in order to function.

The Basic Equipment for handling plant protection products

You must always have at least this basic equipment when handling pesticides:

  • nitrile gloves
  • cotton gloves
  • visor
  • headgear
  • protective apron, rubber boots
  • respiratory protection equipment
  • eyewash.

Nitrile gloves provide good protection when handling plant protection products

Reusable nitrile gloves, thickness of 0,3 mm.

  • Change after a day's work.
  • Available in sizes 7-12.

Disposable nitrile gloves, preferably with a long shaft.

  • Change after 10 minutes.
  • Available in sizes 7-11.

When working with pesticides, it is the hands that suffer the highest risk of getting exposed.  Protective gloves are your most important protection. When you mix the spray liquid and fill the spray equipment, it is a concentrated substance you are handling. This is when the risks are at their greatest.

Nitrile rubber is suitable for use when working with concentrated substances and when working with diluted solutions.

Disposable nitrile gloves are handy and easy to use, but they cannot stand up to use of more than about ten minutes.

If you need to wear gloves for a long time, you must use the thicker nitrile gloves. It is important that you protect your forearms, where the inner skin is thin and sensitive.

Make sure your gloves have sufficiently long shafts, or combine the gloves with separate cuffs. Cuffs of disposable materials are cheap, provide good protection and are easy to use.

Cotton gloves inside nitrile gloves when handling plant protection products

Use a plain thin cotton glove inside the protective glove. This will give you added comfort and keeps your skin dry. Moist skin easily becomes dry and chapped.

It is also easier to put on and remove a protective glove with a cotton glove underneath and it allows the protective glove to fit snugly and provide a good grip.

Visor protects your face while handling plant protection products

Use a visor that also covers the sides of your face and provides protection for the eyes, forehead and front part of the head.

A visor is easy to put on and you have good protection for the entire face. It is also possible to use safety goggles, but then only the eyes are protected.

Nowadays, there are safety goggles that are easy to put on and remove, and which are possible to combine with regular glasses.

Protect your head during the handling of plant protection products

You must have some kind of headgear that protects the head and hair from splashing and dripping. Replace or wash frequently. A cap or other simpler headgear is, of course, not personal protective equipment, but provides some protection. It is important that you wash and change your cap often, otherwise it will not be protection, but rather something that contaminates your head.

Use protective apron when handling plant protection products

When handling concentrated preparations - use a long apron made of PVC that reaches from neck to boots, preferably heavy enough not to risk blowing upwards.

An apron is easy to use and to put on and take off. If you use a disposable apron, you can discard it after use.

Special rubber boots for plant protection products

  • Always wear rubber boots when working with plant protection products.
  • The boots should be used only for this and not at any other time.
  • Place your trouser legs outside the boot. This prevents spills down into the boot.
  • Change boots for each growing season.

Respiratory protection equipment when handling plant protection products, where necessary

Use a full-face mask or half mask with gas filter A2 brown and particulate filter P2. Sometimes you may need a P3 filter instead of P2.

A full-face mask gives you good protection for the eyes and the respiratory tract as well as for large parts of the face. A half mask in combination with a pair of safety goggles does not provide quite as good full protection, but may be adequate in many situations.

A fan respirator may be an option. It is a loose-fitting mask over the face with a fan and filter in a belt around the waist.

Both particulate and gas filters are available for fan-supplied respirators. It works even if you have a beard and glasses.

Eye shower must be available when handling plant protection products

Eyewash bottles or fixed eyewash stations should be in place. If the pesticide, according to label marking, requires at least fifteen minutes rinsing time after being splashed into the eyes, then there must be a permanently-installed eyewash equipment.

If you are in a place where it is not possible to have an eyewash station connected to a water pipe, make sure to have enough eye wash product with you.

Wash away plant protection product immediately

It is important that you, as soon as possible, wash away plant protection products that end up on you. Some plant protection products can be rinsed off with water, while others that are soluble in organic solvents require a suitable liquid soap. This is particularly true regarding concentrated plant protection products. Diluted solutions can be rinsed off with water. Remember to always carry bring water when you are working a distance away from a water supply.

If you accidentally get plant protection products on your clothes, take off the contaminated clothes, take a shower and change into clean clothes as soon as possible. Always shower after finishing spray work. Make sure you have clean hands before you eat, use oral tobacco, smoke, or go to the toilet.

Wash protective clothing as soon as possible if they come in contact with plant protection products

If protective clothes become soiled with plant protection products, it is possible to wash the clothes in a washing machine.

Replace or discard personal protective equipment when it is dirty from handling plant protection products

Contaminated protective equipment affords little protection. It can be difficult to determine how often you need to replace or discard protective equipment. A good rule of thumb is to use gloves for one day, not more. If you rinse the gloves with water, you can throw them out with the household waste.

Cleaning of protective equipment used when handling plant protection products

Personal protective equipment made of disposable materials is discarded immediately after use. Other personal protective equipment must be thoroughly rinsed.

Store protective equipment used when handling plant protection products in a good way

It is important that you keep your personal protective equipment protected from exposure to chemicals, contaminated clothing and other things that can reduce or eliminate the protective effect.

If you store unused gloves in a cool and dark place, they last longer. Protective equipment should also be stored away from both private clothing and work clothes, see the Provisions on the design of the workplace (AFS 2009: 2).

Workplace design (AFS 2020:1), provisions

Last updated 2022-03-22