Application equipment maintenance and safety

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Understanding proper equipment maintenance and safety is vital to preventing unwanted chemical spills, over-application or pesticide drift. Applicators need to take time to examine their equipment regularly for leaks, worn hoses and similar maintenance issues. They also need to exercise care when using the equipment since the equipment itself may pose dangers. 

Protect Yourself
Whether working with or maintaining equipment used to apply pesticides, follow the same safety precautions as you would when mixing, loading or applying a pesticide. Remember that pesticide equipment is contaminated with pesticide residues and presents a risk to the user or mechanic, even when it is not being used to make an application. Be prepared for accidental exposure to substances which may be in hoses, drain lines or pumps.

  • Consult the pesticide labels to determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn. When you are unsure of what pesticides are present, select PPE which provides the greatest protection. Anyone working on equipment should provide themselves with the same protection as the applicator or handler.
  • Before working on application equipment, remove any remaining pesticide from the holding tank.  Drain all pipes and hoses of sprayers into a suitable container for future use (do not use a food container). This will reduce the chance of pesticides leaking, spilling or splashing onto you while working on the equipment.
  • Have an emergency eyewash kit nearby as well as decontamination supplies such as soap, a clean towel, a clean change of clothes and an adequate supply of clean water which can be used for washing.
  • Train other family members or employees as well as yourself about emergency first aid for pesticide exposure and when to contact emergency responders if exposure occurs.
  • Wash hands before eating, drinking, smoking, touching eyes or using the toilet.
  • Don’t spread pesticides. Remove pesticide-contaminated clothes right away. Wash them separately from other clothing.

Related Resources:
Pesticides and Commercial Vehicle Maintenance. This publication from Purdue Pesticide Programs briefly provides commercial applicators with information about vehicle safety and maintenance. Included with this is a Vehicle Maintenance Checklist that can be used for routine inspections of the vehicle.

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