Using chemicals responsibly

Code of practice for handling pesticides

Standard precautionary measures must be adopted and followed during all phases of pesticide operations.

Do this during:

  • preparation
  • application and at
  • completion of task or disposal.

General safety

Read the label before handling the chemical, ensuring all details are known and you are familiar with the general requirements for usage.

If the label is damaged, not complete or missing and there is any doubt as to the container contents then do not proceed in using and seek further advice.

If a label requires replacement then contact your supplier or chemical services for assistance.

If you suffer from ill health, especially with respiratory or heart disease, you should not use pesticides.

You should also do the following:

  • observe product label instructions on area re-entry and produce handling
  • store the chemical in a secure location to prevent unintended access and under the conditions as defined on the label to maintain the product integrity and avoid deterioration or material becoming volatile
  • keep children and pets away from the work area when mixing and applying pesticides
  • conduct handling and preparation in a work space that provides the necessary work surface areas, containers and equipment, ventilation, access to emergency equipment, such as water for a safety shower, and spill kits
  • do not handle in confined spaces where there is inadequate ventilation
  • do not handle food, or place anything in your mouth including drinking or smoking, while mixing or applying the pesticide chemical
  • handle pesticide chemical cautiously so as to avoid splashing and spillage.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Protective clothing and equipment must be worn when mixing and applying pesticides. This may include:

  • cotton overalls buttoned at the throat and wrists
    • impervious (PVC) gloves and a
    • washable plastic or hard hat
  • chemical-resistant boots worn beneath the overalls so that any spillage is not caught in the boots
  • face shield and/or half-face respirator with an appropriate cartridge, especially for dust formulations and volatile liquid concentrates
  • observe the label and product safety data sheet instructions for PPE.

How to remove PPE

When the task is completed  you must:

  • carefully remove PPE
  • dispose of PPE or put aside for decontamination
  • scrub hands and any exposed skin areas according to label and safety data sheet instructions.


You must give your neighbours adequate warning before you spray.

At least 12 hours of notice should be given either in person or by phone.

It is especially important if your neighbours suffer from asthma or other illness, as they may need to leave the area while you are spraying.

This will enable them to take precautions such as:

  • staying indoors
  • closing their windows
  • removing washing from the clothesline
  • protecting pet birds, fish and bees.

Spray drift

Avoid spray drift. Do not spray if atmospheric conditions are unsuitable and likely to cause spray drift.

Observe the product and equipment instructions to obtain the correct droplet size and spray pattern to assist with control of spray-drift.


Application equipment must be in proper working order.

Applicators must be calibrated to minimise spray drift while giving effective coverage.

Product labels may specify equipment settings or spray patterns to be achieved and these must be observed.


  • blow out clogged nozzles or hoses by mouth.
  • leave pesticides in application equipment

Clean equipment after use and return to the storage point.


Return unused containers of pesticides to the supplier store.

Safely dispose of empty containers and remaining chemical according to label and safety data sheet instructions.

Immediately store any remnant pesticide chemical in the secure store.

Do not decant pesticides into other containers, especially food or beverage containers. They may be mistaken for a food substance or later used for food storage.

Record keeping

You must keep a record of each purchase of an S7 pesticide.

Other records to be maintained as in the product label instructions.

Spray records must be kept for two years after use and include:

  • name and address of person who used the product
  • name of the product
  • if the product was used in a ground spraying business or aerial spraying business supply:
    • names and addresses of business
    • licensee of the business and the
    • client on whose behalf the product was used
  • rate and amount of product applied
  • method of application. If the method was aerial spraying:
    • type of aircraft and registration
    • how the product was applied and equipment used to apply it
    • expiry date of product
  • date and time the product was used
  • address or location of the land on which the product was used, down to the paddock location and size of area
  • type of crop, pasture or other plants in the area
  • temperature, wind speed and direction at the time of spraying
  • name of target pest or disease
  • withholding periods
  • details of the permit or authorisation allowing use under the spray permit
    • and any additional recorded information required under that permit or authorisation.

Poisons information

If poisoning occurs, immediately contact the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

The centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Read more information on medicines and poisons safety.

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Last updated: 19 March 2021

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