Applying Pesticides Safely
The world of pesticides is continually evolving. In spite of this, there are many basic principles that commercial and noncommercial applicators should always follow when handling or using pesticides.
It is vital to become familiar with how a product should be properly applied by reading and following its label. The label also provides information about the protective clothing needed when mixing and loading or applying that pesticide, and other precautions that should be taken, such as protecting non-targets like fish, bees, pets, wildlife, livestock or endangered species. Proper storage, transportation, and disposal procedures for a pesticide can also be found on the label. Remember that the label is the law!
Ensuring the health and safety of applicators and workers is essential. Using personal protective equipment (PPE) required by the label and following the Worker Protection Standard can help applicators and employers comply with pesticide laws and regulations. An applicator using proper notification procedures about restricted entry intervals and time of application provides the information necessary for an employer to inform and protect employees who may be working in a pesticide-treated area. If there is an accidental poisoning or exposure, refer to the pesticide label for help, consult a medical professional, and call the Poison Center (800-222-1222), National Pesticide Information Center (800-858-7378), or other pesticide helpline to report the incident.
For more information on these and related topics, see the following NebGuides and Extension Circulars:
- Pesticide Laws and Regulations (G479)
- Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Establishments (EC3006)
- Nebraska Pesticide Container and Secondary Containment Rules (G2033)
- Understanding the Pesticide Label (G1955)
- Spray Drift of Pesticides (G1773)
- Protective Clothing and Equipment for Pesticide Applicators (G758)
- Pesticide Safety: Choosing the Right Gloves (G1961)
- Maintaining and Fit Testing Cartridge Respirators for Pesticide Applications (G2083)
- Pesticides and the Endangered Species Protection Program (G1893)
- Protecting Pesticide Sensitive Crops (G2179)
- Bee Aware: Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides (EC301)
- Rinsing Pesticide Containers (G1736)
- Cleaning Pesticide Application Equipment (G1770)
- Managing Pesticide Spills (G2038)
- Managing the Risk of Pesticide Poisoning & Understanding the Signs & Symptoms (EC2505)
- Safe Transport, Storage, and Disposal of Pesticides (EC2507)
- No Drift Zone: Driftwatch Brochure
Pesticide Education Resources
The Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP), through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, is responsible for developing and revising training programs and materials for the commercial/noncommercial applicator. The UNL PSEP website offers a wide variety of resources for the pesticide applicator, including links to register for initial licensing and recertification training, buy training manuals, and the NebGuides and Extension Circulars listed earlier. For more information:
- Visit the Pesticide Safety Education Program website at http://pested.unl.edu
- Call the Pesticide Safety Education Program Office at 402-472-1632 or toll-free at 800-627-7216 with questions about training dates, study materials, or pesticide safety education.
- Contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture toll-free at 402-471-2394 or toll-free at 877-800-4080 with questions on regulatory issues, license status, or compliance interpretation.
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