Personal safety and protective clothing

   When working with pesticides, do not eat, drink or smoke. Wash hands and face thoroughly with soap and water before smoking or eating. Also wash your hands before using the toilet. Some form of protective clothing is required when handling and transferring pesticides in stores. In warm, humid tropical climates, wearing additional protective clothing may be uncomfortable. Ideally, therefore, only pesticide types and formulations which do not require additional protective clothing should be stored. This is unlikely to be possible in most cases however.

General body protection

   The garments worn should have long sleeves and covering for the lower body and legs. Footwear (boots or shoes) and some kind of head covering should also be worn. Many kinds of normal clothing in tropical and subtropical countries provide good general body protection in any case, but work clothing should be in a good state of repair and should not have tears or worn areas through which pesticides can enter and contaminate the skin. Work clothing, including footwear, must be washed in water with soap or other detergent after each dayís use, separately from other clothing.

Hand protection

   When pouring and otherwise transferring pesticides from one container to another, chemical-resistant gloves should be worn (Figure 30). They must fit the hands comfortably and be flexible enough to grip pesticide containers firmly. They must be long enough at least to cover the wrists.

FIGURE 30 - Storekeeper wearing mask, eye protection, gloves and apron over shirt and trousers
to protect himself from splashes while transferring pesticide concentrate

   Gloves made of nitrile rubber or neoprene offer good protection against a wide range of pesticide products, especially those dissolved or suspended in water, granules or dusts. Gloves made of natural rubber do not provide sufficient protection against products such as emulsifiable concentrates and ultra-low-volume pesticides.
   The outside of gloves should be rinsed with water before removal and the gloves should be washed inside and out and allowed to dry after each dayís use. They should be examined for signs of wear and tear, particularly between the fingers.


   Calf-length rubber boots give protection against a wide range of dilute pesticide products. Leather footwear is unsuitable because it absorbs some pesticide products and cannot be decontaminated. Trousers should be worn outside the boots so that spills and splashes do not fall into them.

Eye protection

   Goggles or face shields are used to protect the eyes from splashes (Figure 30) and when transferring dusts. Face shields are cooler to wear in hot, humid climates and do not mist over as easily as goggles. Although they provide less satisfactory eye protection, the use of safety spectacles is preferable to no protection.
   Wash after use to remove any contamination. An eyewash set should also be available.

Protection against inhalation

   There should be a sufficient stock of lightweight disposable masks that cover the mouth and nose when handling dusts. The masks must be discarded after use. Vapour masks or half-face respirators with organic vapour cartridges should also be available.

Apron covering

   Aprons are useful additional protective items for loading operations, handling concentrated formulations and cleaning out containers before disposal. Aprons made of PVC, nitrile rubber or neoprene, or disposable ones made of polyethylene materials, provide adequate additional protection for operations of this kind. The apron should cover the front of the body up to the neck and down to the knees. As with other protective equipment, aprons must be washed after use and inspected regularly for signs of damage.
   If items of protective clothing are not available, the national authority responsible for supplying or distributing pesticides should ensure that they are provided. Donors and suppliers of pesticides should be asked to provide them.