Safety Tips for Using Herbicides

Jun 20, 2024

Herbicides are invaluable for protecting plant life from pests, but they also pose significant health hazards if not handled properly. Pesticides, including herbicides, typically come with several toxicity ratings—oral, dermal, acute, and chronic. Regardless of these ratings, any chemical can become hazardous if it is formulated or used in ways that increase human exposure, leading to potential poisoning. To ensure your safety when handling these products, it’s crucial to understand the precautions and proper use.

Read the Label

Reading the label on a herbicide container is the first and most crucial step in ensuring safe usage. The label provides essential information on safe and proper use:

Protection Guidelines: If the label warns against exposure to eyes, lungs, skin, or clothing, wear the appropriate protective gear.

Application Instructions: Follow directions precisely regarding how to apply the product and what equipment to use.

First Aid Information: Familiarize yourself with the first-aid instructions in case of accidental poisoning.

Storage and Disposal: Adhere to the directions for storing and disposing of the product safely after use.

Protect Yourself


Ensuring personal safety involves using the right protective equipment:

Protective Clothing: Full-length overalls, preferably made from breathable nylon fabric, should be worn. Disposable overalls made from polyethylene or polypropylene can also be effective.

Gloves: Use unlined, flexible gauntlet-type gloves made from PVC, Viton, or Nitrile Rubber. Avoid leather gloves and replace used gloves regularly.

Boots: PVC boots are preferable to rubber boots. Avoid leather boots and discard any that leak.

Eye and Face Protection: Always wear eye protection, such as goggles or safety glasses, especially when handling and pouring chemicals.

Aprons: PVC aprons are useful for protecting against spills when lifting and pouring chemical drums.

Respirators: Use a half-face twin cartridge respirator for most spraying requirements. Ensure cartridges are changed regularly and that the respirator fits snugly on your face.


First Aid

If you experience symptoms like dizziness, nausea, severe headaches, disturbed vision, or stomach upsets after handling herbicides, seek medical advice immediately and inform the doctor about the chemical used. Always have first aid instructions handy and consider regular medical checks if you handle pesticides frequently.

Cleanup Procedures

Proper cleanup procedures are essential to prevent contamination and poisoning:

Tool and Equipment Cleaning: Rinse tools and equipment three times, pouring the rinse water into the pesticide container.
Personal Cleaning: Immediately wash any body parts that came into contact with the product. Shower promptly after completing cleanup and storage procedures.
Contaminated Clothing: Treat all clothing used while working with herbicides as contaminated. Remove contaminated gear before leaving the worksite, bag it, and wash it separately. Clean boots, gloves, and goggles before storing them in a clean area.

Storage and Disposal

Safe storage and disposal of herbicides are critical:

Store herbicides securely to prevent access by children, as most cases of pesticide poisoning occur in children who play with herbicide containers.

Follow commonsense precautions to avoid accidents.

Final Thoughts

Herbicides can be safely used if proper precautions are taken. By reading labels, wearing protective gear, practicing safe cleanup procedures, and ensuring secure storage and disposal, you can significantly reduce the risk of poisoning and other health hazards.

For information on top-notch herbicides, contact PES Africa at or visit our website to browse our range of offerings. Stay safe!