Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Working With Pesticides In Non-agricultural Settings
Employees who work with pesticides on a regular or occasional basis can have both acute and chronic health effects. Many pesticides contain chemicals that may be caricogenic, irritate the skin and eyes, or impact the body’s endocrine (hormone) system. Pesticides that contain organophosphates and carbamates may even damage the nervous system.
Pesticides are classified as either general or restricted. Anyone can use a pesticide labeled general, but those labeled restricted must be handled by a trained and certified person. Employers must determine which pesticides will be used and how they can be handled safely and effectively.
“There are a lot of data out there about pesticides,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, “But, without a doubt, product labels and the National Pesticide Information Center are the best sources of information.”
• Product labels follow requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency in order to provide information about safe use and disposal. Pesticide labels go far beyond a typical chemical label or MSDS.
• National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) is another good source of information about pesticides. NPIC’s web site, available at www.npic.orst.edu, includes toxicology and health information as well as emergency procedures.
Developing a training program for employees is crucial to safe and effective pesticide use. A pesticide training program should address the following areas:
1. Effects of the pesticide
2. Exposure testing and medical monitoring
3. Use of personal protective equipment
4. First aid
5. Safe work practices
The use of pesticides in non-agricultural companies should be taken as seriously as the use of any hazardous chemical. Through evaluation, training, and consistent implementation, the risks of pesticides can be controlled.
OccuSafe Environmental and Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.
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