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Stay Safe with Farm Chemicals to Protect Yourself

Stay Safe with Farm Chemicals to Protect Yourself

Don't practice safe farm chemical handling just so you won't have to pay a fine.

Farmers all over Indiana have attended pesticide applicator training courses this winter and early spring to get credit toward renewing their license. If you're only attending the class to get the renewal, you just might be missing the point.

I watched a farmer walk up to register for the meeting before it began at one site. When the gals told him he didn't heed credit, he left and didn't attend the meeting! What's wrong with this picture?

Dave Osborne, Ripley County Extension ag educator, presented a program for pesticide applicator's credit on the ins and outs of wearing personal protective clothing recently.

Right rate, right practices: Whoever sprayed this field got their target. Let's hope they used personal protective equipment so they weren't a target as well.

"The whole idea is to keep yourself safe, and your employees safe," he says. "They must have the protective equipment and be wearing it."

Related: Pesticide-stained Clothes Deserve Their Own Washer

If you're keeping equipment on hand and following procedures haphazardly just because you don't want to get fined, you're doing it for the wrong reasons, he emphasizes.

"No one wants to get inspected, and the odds are you won't be," he says. "There are only so many inspectors in the Office of the Indiana State Chemist."

However, he emphasizes that isn't the point. And if a spill, accident or tragedy occurs, you will be investigated. If it's determined you weren't following guidelines then it's too late to correct what might become a personal and financial tragedy.

"Don't leave your employees to determine the risk level for themselves if they're handling or spraying chemicals," he says. "It's up to you to give them the safety equipment they need. It's also a good idea to give them a label for the products that they're handling or applying.

Related: Play Dress Up Before Heading Out to Spray Fields

For example, if you are or an employee is applying a chemical classified in the "danger" category, where the label clearly states you should wear a face shield, and something goes wrong, would the responders even find a face shield on the farm? It's time to concentrate on following label instructions, Osborne says. They are there for your own protection.

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