Using chemicals responsibly

Code of practice for handling pesticides

Work practices and procedures

You must adopt and follow standard precautionary measures during all phases of pesticide operations - eg: during preparation, application and at completion or disposal.


Anyone suffering from ill health - especially respiratory and heart diseases - should not be involved in applying pesticides.

Identify the pest, and assess how much damage is really being done.

Use pesticides only when really needed. Consider alternate control methods.

Seek advice on the proper method of control.

Use only the recommended pesticide for the problem.

Read the label before opening the container - including the small print. Do not use any pesticide if there is any doubt about the container's contents - eg: the label is missing.

Make sure the appropriate protective clothing is available and is used, and all people concerned with the application understand the recommendations.

Check application equipment for leaks and ensure it is in proper working order. Calibrate using just water.

Check that plenty of water is available with soap and towel and that a change of clean clothing and protective equipment is available.

Avoid inhaling pesticide mists or dusts, especially in confined spaces such as the pesticide store.

Warn neighbours of your spray program, especially if they have apiaries, aviaries and fish ponds.

Take only sufficient pesticide for the day’s application from the store to the site of application. 

Never transfer pesticides into other containers, especially drink bottles.

Wear appropriate protective clothing.  If it is contaminated, remove and replace with clean clothing.

Never work alone when handling fumigants such as aluminium phosphide, or where there is a risk of asphyxiation.

Never allow children or unauthorised people near the mixing or spraying operations.

Re-check the instructions on the label.

Avoid contamination of the skin, especially the eyes and mouth. Liquid formulations should be poured carefully to avoid splashing. Avoid powder formulations puffing up into the face. If contaminated with concentrate, wash immediately.


Never eat, drink or smoke when mixing or applying pesticides.

Always have plenty of water available for washing.

Always stand upwind when mixing.

Make sure pesticides are mixed in the correct quantities.

Avoid inhalation of chemical, dust or fumes. Take particular care when working in confined spaces.

Take care when applying pesticides indoors that no foodstuffs can be contaminated.

During outdoor spraying, operators start near the downwind edge of the area and proceed upwind so that operators move into unsprayed areas.

Avoid spray drift – do not spray if wind conditions cause drift. It is your responsibility to ensure that spray drift does not affect sensitive areas including public places, schools, houses, rivers, waterways, etc.

Never blow out clogged nozzles or hoses with your mouth.

Never leave pesticides unattended.

Provide proper supervision of those applying pesticides and allow adequate rest periods.

Clean Up

Return unused pesticides to the store.

Safely dispose of all empty containers and residual mixtures.

Never leave pesticides in application equipment. Clean equipment and return to store.

Remove and clean protective clothing.

Wash well and put on clean clothing - when there is a considerable amount of spraying, the operators should be provided with a shower room if possible.

Keep a record of the use of pesticides.

Do not allow other persons to enter the treated area for the required period if restrictions apply to the pesticide used.

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Last updated: 03 December 2019

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