Farm chemical safety checklist

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Each year, between 1,800 and 3,000 preventable incidents involving pesticide exposure occur. Pesticides pose risks of short- and long-term illness to farmers, farm workers and their families.

Pesticides can present a hazard to applicators, to harvesters reentering a sprayed field, to family members due to take-home contamination, and to rural residents via air, groundwater and food.

National Farm Safety Week is Sept. 17-23. Celebrate this year by making sure farm chemicals are kept safe.

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Safety tips

  • Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions for proper storage.
  • Keep chemicals in their original containers and don’t pour into smaller bottles.
  • Don’t remove labels from container and make sure chemicals are properly labeled.
  • Store chemicals in a locked, well-ventilated shed with floors that will contain spills.
  • Store chemicals and personal protective equipment in different locations.
  • Store the filter(s) from masks separately to contaminated protective equipment when not in use — for example, in a zip-locked bag or an ice cream container.
  • Do not store liquid chemicals above solids.
  • Separate different classes of chemicals to prevent reactions.
  • Store animal feeds, seeds and fertilizers separately from other chemicals.
  • Have mop-up materials on hand, such as sand, soil or Drysorb.
  • Keep ignition sources well away from chemicals.
  • Keep a record of the chemicals you buy, store and use and regularly check that the containers show no sign of rust or damage.

Disposal

Farmers and commercial pesticide users generally cannot dispose of pesticides in household hazardous waste programs.

Many states run pesticide disposal programs specifically for farmers and commercial pesticide users, which are often referred to as “Clean Sweep” programs.

For more information about pesticide disposal in Ohio contact pesticides@agri.ohio.gov; in Pennsylvania visit www.pda.state.pa.us/chemsweep or email dgilbert@state.pa.us.

Sources: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.farmsafety4kids.net/,  and the Environmental Protection Agency.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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