Safe application of agrochemicals
Most pesticides and herbicides are dangerous to human health and the environment, even in small amounts. Many farm workers suffer from agrochemical poisoning through chronic exposure and poor management practices. Dangerous substances can enter the body through:
  • Inhalation of the fine droplets of agrochemicals into the lungs
  • Skin absorption of chemicals
  • Accidental ingestion and/or contamination of lips and mouth caused by poor work practices e.g. cleaning a blocked sprayer nozzle by blowing with mouth
Aerial application of agrochemicals

During the spray application of agrochemicals, spray droplets can drift beyond the intended target. The spray drift is influenced by various factors - mode of application, droplet size, which can be modified by nozzle types, formulation adjuvants, wind direction, wind speed, air stability, relative humidity, temperature and height of released spray relative to the crop canopy.

It is not possible to avoid spray drift completely but the extend of the drift to non-target subjects/areas can be minimized through best-management practices, and taking proper precautions where the use of hazardous agrochemicals are concerned.

Pesticide and herbicide application

A basic precautionary step in applying agrochemicals is all users must ensure that they are properly trained as sprayer operators. The users must also ensure that their helpers are properly trained to handle the chemicals and equipment.

Other precautionary steps are listed below:

a) Pre-spraying
  • Read and understand labels and/or instructions and any the information provided with the chemical, the application equipment and the protective clothing
  • Assess risks associated with the application
  • Check application equipment to ensure that it is in good working order. There should not be any leakages or spillage
  • Check that protective clothing and other safety equipment are available and are in good working order
  • Plan the work process
  • Check climatic conditions and wind directions/speed. Avoid spraying when there are strong winds
b) During application
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing
  • Use the correct amount of agrochemical required
  • Handle equipment properly to prevent spillage or leakage
  • Make sure that there are no other workers in close proximity when agrochemicals are being applied / sprayed
  • Monitor weather, and wind speed and direction. Winds will cause spray drift and can blow the spray to other non-target areas / subjects
c) Post-spraying
  • Wash hands, face, neck and other exposed parts of the body thoroughly. If gloves are worn, wash the gloves first before removal
  • Return unused agrochemicals to storage and safely dispose of empty containers and surplus
  • Wash all used application equipment thoroughly. The wastewater should be drained into a different container and be treated where necessary before disposal
  • Wash all protective clothing (e.g. aprons, boots, face shield) thoroughly
  • Used respiratory protection equipment should be wiped clean
  • Keep proper records of agrochemical use

For a full list of precautionary procedures, please refer to:


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