Recent studies and reports show a number of student and employee illnesses across the country that resulted from pesticides used on school grounds. While pesticides and herbicides are effective and a necessary part of your job, they can also be very dangerous to your health and the health of others in the school. Please observe the following safety precautions to keep everyone safe.

Read the Label

If a chemical is new to you, read the product label to learn about safe and proper use.

  • If the label warns against exposure to the eyes, lungs, skin or clothing, wear the right gear to protect your body.
  • Follow the directions on the label regarding how to apply the product and what equipment must be used.
  • Notice the first-aid instructions in case of an accidental poisoning.
  • Follow directions regarding how to store and dispose of the product after usage.

Protect Yourself

Your best line of defense against exposure to chemicals is wearing the right protective clothing for the job. This typically includes a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, non-absorbent gloves (no leather or fabric), rubber boots (no canvas or leather), a hat, eye protection, masks, aprons, face respirators and/or dust mist filters. Also, take note of the following:

  • Check your clothing for defects and holes before wearing them while handling chemicals.
  • Do not smoke, eat, drink, apply cosmetics or use the restroom directly following or while you are using herbicides and pesticides.
  • Be mindful of where other employees are located when applying chemicals.
  • Do not use pesticides when winds are stronger than 10 mph to avoid blowing the chemicals to unwanted areas or onto other employees or students.

Consider Student Safety

Student safety is important to us and you should always keep students in mind when working with pesticides. Alert teachers when you will be spraying an area where children walk or play, and post signs after spraying pesticides in high-traffic areas.

Cleanup Procedures

After applying a pesticide or herbicide, rinse your tools and equipment three times. Then pour the rinse water into the pesticide container.

Immediately wash any parts of your body that came in contact with the product, and be sure to shower promptly after completing other cleanup and storage procedures. Remove all clothing worn while working with the products, place in a plastic bag and wash separately from your street clothes. Don’t forget to clean your boots, gloves and other equipment using a detergent and water solution.

Storage and Disposal

  • Keep all chemicals in their original manufacturer’s container.
  • When chemicals are not in use, store them in designated areas only.
  • Disposal requires special handling. Check the label and follow our safe handling procedures. If you don’t know how to dispose of something safety, ask before you toss it! Improper handling is bad for the environment, and poses fire and health hazards for everyone at the school.

Above all, be smart as you apply or spray, and follow all of our safety rules and procedures regarding pesticide use. Employee and student safety is top priority, so please do your part when working with pesticides.