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.
In order to apply a pesticide properly, it is vital to become familiar with how a product should be used by reading and following its label. The label also provides information about the necessary 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!
Protecting the health and safety of applicators and workers is essential. Using personal protective equipment 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 necessary information 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’s 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 Nebraska Extension Publications:
- 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
- Respirators for Handling Pesticides, EC3021
- Fit Testing a Respirator for Pesticide Applications, EC3027
- 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 and Understanding the Signs and Symptoms, EC2505
- Safe Transport, Storage, and Disposal of Pesticides, EC2507
The Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP), through Nebraska 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 program overviews, training registration, training manual procurement, news, 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 for questions about training dates, study materials, or pesticide safety education.
- Contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351 for questions on regulatory issues, license status, or compliance interpretation.
- Connect with PSEP on social media: