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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Pesticide Safety Is No Joke

Pesticide safety needs an uptick! Thousands of people are poisoned every year and many don’t know the cause. Listen to increase your pesticide safety.

Spraying fungal pathogen spores. USDA / Keith Weller.

In this podcast, Dan Clark explains ways for workers—those applying pesticides—to keep themselves safe from the chemicals. Tips include droplet size, nozzle adjustment, PPE and more.

Also critical to pesticide safety is the care for bystanders. Dan describes many ways to isolate people from pesticides during and after application.

Often, people don’t know they’ve been exposed to pesticides. Hear about the various symptoms of exposure. Also offered is the toll free phone number for the Poison Control Centers.


intro music and effects

Dan Clark: 10,000 to 20,000 people are poisoned by pesticides every year, according to the EPA. Pesticide safety is no joke! Up next, we’ll try to knock those numbers down and keep people safe.

Hi again. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Head to the website Do some shopping, use coupon code BIG10 to save 10 percent.

safety brain
The Safety Brain, our new information resource.

What are pesticides? Let me fire up my mobile Safety Brain. Here we go.

Safety Brain: Pesticides are any herbicide, insecticide or fungicide that kills or repels plant or animal life that is considered a pest.

Dan: And this is according to who?

SB: According to the CDC.

Dan: Okay, thank you. Pesticide safety is important to agricultural workers, groundskeepers, maintenance personnel at plant nurseries, even hospitals.

Okay, Safety Brain. What should we tackle first?

SB: Prevent pesticide exposure for workers.

Dan: Okay.

• Pesticides are labeled! Follow instructions.

• Wear the right personal protective equipment, PPE. On this list: safety glasses, gloves, respirators, long-sleeve shirts and full-length pants. Clean the clothes when you’re done, but don’t wash with other clothing.

• Use appropriate equipment to apply pesticides and only apply in areas where they’re necessary.

• Droplet size. This affects the hang time and drift.

• Nozzle adjustment. Spray narrow, no wider than necessary to cover the target.

What’s next?

SB: Prevent pesticide exposure for people nearby.

Dan: All right, thank you.

• Check wind speed and direction before application. Don’t allow chemicals to drift toward people, gardens, streams or lakes.

• Tell people in the area to stay away until pesticides dry.

• Post signs at entry points to affected areas.

• In agriculture, follow a chemical’s Restricted Entry Interval—the REI. That’s the time after application when access to the affected area is shut down.


NO PPE? It’s ok. The USDA sprays a mist of dish liquid and vegetable oil to control insects. USDA / Jack Dykinga

Poison control centers report, in many cases, people don’t recognize the symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Safety Brain, what are the mild symptoms?

SB: Headache, dizziness, nausea, sweating, fatigue or thirst.

Dan: And the more serious symptoms?

SB: Rapid pulse, blurry vision, confusion, coughing, vomiting or difficulty breathing.

Dan: Here’s an idea. Instead of people, maybe we should have robots deal with pesticides.

SB: Thanks. But. No Thanks.

Dan: In the US, the national Poison Control Centers offer a free, confidential 24-hour helpline. 1-800-222-1222. That’s 1-800-222-1222.

That’s all for this episode, Pesticide Safety Is No Joke. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code BIG10.


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