Plant protection products and other pesticides

This is about your health. When you work with plant protection products and other pesticides, your health is at risk if you do not protect yourself.

Protect yourself against pesticides

Many people protect themselves insufficiently, either by having too little protective equipment or by using protective equipment made of the wrong material. Not switching to clean or new protective equipment often enough can also cause insufficient protection.

This is shown by surveys from Statistics Sweden and also by interviews that we have carried out together with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, The Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) and Visavi God Lantmannased AB.

What protective equipment do you need when you handle plant protection products?

Under the heading ’prevention’ you will find guidance choosing the correct things. The Basic Protection is a good foundation. For example, it is appropriate when mixing the spray liquid and filling the sprayer equipment.

It is important to care for your equipment and replace it often enough. Otherwise, you are not protected. 

Prevention - protect yourself against pesticides

Films about protection against plant protection products

Here are six short films about the protection against plant protection products from Säkert växskydd (Focus on Pesticide Use). The films have been produced in collaboration with the Swedish Work Environment Authority. The films are also available on the website Säkert växtskydd (Focus on Pesticide Use). There are different films about protective equipment, depending on the type of sprayer you use.

Focus on Pesticide Use website, opens in new window

The videos are in Swedish with English subtitles. If you don't see the subtitles, click the captions button in the lower right corner.

Protect yourself by using proper basic protection when handling plant protection products

Do you manage to fill the sprayer without splashing plant protection products? Here you will see a practical test

Here are tips on what protection you are advised to use when using with a boom sprayer.

Are you using a knapsack sprayer? Here you will learn more about the protective equipment you are recommended to use in that case.

Here you can see the protective equipment recommended to of use in handling pesticides in greenhouses.

Do you use the protective equipment recommended if you use a fan sprayer? Here you will find the answer.

Health risks with plant protection products

When working with plant protection products, you are exposed to health risks. Injuries can appear immediately, what we call acute health effects. Injury can also manifest after a long period of use, or a long time after a single major exposure.

Pesticides can cause damage by breathing them in, getting them on your skin or by accidently swallowing them.

The risk of ill health depends not only on the plant protection product health hazards, but also to a great extent on how one handles the products.

Careless handling of an agent that is less hazardous can lead to ill health, while careful management of a far more toxic agent can occur without health risks.

The employer's responsibility during the handling of plant protection products

You as an employer are obliged to provide protective equipment and ensure that your staff uses it.

You must also ensure that protective equipment is inspected. All this is important to ensure that the equipment protects as it should. Protection work is easier if there are well thought out  procedures properly followed in the workplace.

For  the self-employed and family businesses without employees, the same rules generally apply when handling plant protection products as for employers with employees.

Handling and safety instructions when working with plant protection products

As an employer, you must produce written handling and safety instructions for all work with pesticides in Class 1.

There are also a number of jobs with class 2 substances  where it is also necessary to have written handling and safety instructions. You can read more about it in the Work Environment Authority provisions on pesticides (AFS 1998: 6) in the commentary to 2 §.

Pesticides (AFS 1998: 6), Provisions

In the handling and safety instructions there must be thorough descriptions of how risky operations must be performed. There must also be information on:

  • which personal protective equipment is appropriate
  • adaptation and maintenance of protective equipment
  • personal hygiene
  • first aid measures.

The regulations about personal protective equipment are in the provisions on the use of personal protective equipment (AFS 2001:3).

Use of personal protective equipment (AFS 2001: 3), provisions 

The employee's responsibility during the handling of plant protection products

The employee must follow the employer's instructions and take good care of their personal protective equipment. This includes following the employer's instructions about, for example, cleaning and storage.

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Last updated 2017-05-31