Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)
Safety tips for applying and handling chemicals
- Always store chemicals in the original containers and make sure the label is intact. Regularly assess containers to ensure no leakage or corrosion has occurred.
- Secure the chemicals from unauthorised access and use. Children and visitors not familiar with the hazards of chemicals should not be able to access them.
- Read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
- Ensure you understand and have emergency procedures defined. This should include a list of emergency contact telephone numbers such as the Poisons Information Centre (131126), your local doctor and the local fire station.
- Make sure you are very careful and precise at all times when handling chemicals. Do not cut corners when handling or applying chemicals.
- Always have appropriate clean-up procedures and equipment ready in case any chemical is spilled.
- Use soap, water and a towel to wash off any chemical splashes. Not all chemicals are water based and you may need soap to remove them from your equipment and particularly your skin.
- Be sensible in what you wear when treating sheep for flystrike. Ideally this would include: overalls, waterproof long pants; steel capped gumboots; and, elbow length waterproof gloves. If using products formulated as powders, breathing protection is also recommended.
- When you are handling concentrates, be extra careful of fumes and splash and wear a face shield and breathing protection.
- After use wash all equipment carefully, dry and store safely.
- Change your clothes when you have finished the chemical work. If you spill a significant volume on your clothes whilst applying chemicals, change clothes immediately.
- Wash your hands and change out of protective clothing before eating, drinking or smoking.
There is wide variation in the relative health risks associated with flystrike treatment and prevention chemicals. For specific information on safety and risks associated with any product refer to the product 'Material Safety Data Sheet' (MSDS), which is available with products at the time of sale. Some companies also maintain product MSDS on their websites.
Product labels carry specific information on the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that should be used with each chemical.
Products must be stored in a lockable shed and should only be opened and decanted outdoors in good ventilation. Most producers are required to hold a current ‘ticket’ (eg. Smartrain™ or ChemCert™) as demonstration of their competence and knowledge in handling pesticides.
To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, consult the APVMA database which is updated nightly and contains details of all agricultural and veterinary chemical products that are registered for use in Australia.
For further information on the OH&S issues associated with insecticides available for flystrike protection and control download the following article.