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Safety & Loss Prevention: Pesticide Safety

By Alliant

Pesticide exposure causes farmworkers to suffer more chemical-related injuries and illnesses than any other workforce in the nation (Farmworker Justice, 2017).

Pesticide exposure is harmful to not only the employees who apply and prepare the pesticides, but also to the workers who handle the treated crops and soil. Pesticides can reside on workers’ clothing, boots and skin, subsequently exposing the worker’s family members. All Pesticide labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) will give the information on the following key points:

What are the health impacts?

Short-term: rashes, blisters, stinging eyes, blindness, nausea, dizziness, headaches, coma and death

Long-term: infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders, cancer and death

How to Protect Your Body:

  • Eye protection when mixing, loading or applying pesticides. Eyeglasses or sunglasses do not provide adequate protection.
  • Clean, chemical-resistant gloves when mixing, loading or applying pesticides.
  • Employees must wash their hands before eating, drinking, smoking or going to the bathroom.
  • A respirator while using harmful pesticides anytime the label requires one, or if you are mixing, loading or applying most pesticides.
  • Clothes with long sleeves and long pants, boots, socks, a hat and/or scarf and gloves. Employees should bathe promptly after returning home and wash exposed clothing separately after each use.

First Aid:

  • Hold the eyelid open and rinse with clean running water from the tap or gentle stream from a hose at least 15 minutes.
  • Go to fresh air immediately and make sure clothing is loose and nonrestrictive.
  • Wash immediately with clean water if pesticides are spilled or sprayed on clothing or skin.
  • Only induce vomiting if recommended by emergency personnel. Follow recommendations of EMS personnel.

Employees should read and /or understand all labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all pesticide hazards they are exposed to.

For more information, please see the EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)


Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.