Chemicals – safe handling

chemicals safe handling

Chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fuels are commonly handled on farms. These chemicals can be dangerous and need to be handled and stored with care.

Always store chemicals in a safe place and don’t store or mix chemicals in an unlabelled container.

Because farms are often homes as well as workplaces, the chance for contact with chemicals is increased. There is also the possibility that chemical matter is taken back into the home, for example on clothing or footwear.

Chemicals can be absorbed through contact with the skin or eyes, inhalation, or ingestion.

Always wash your hands carefully after handling chemicals and remove soiled clothing before you enter your home. Remember not to eat or drink where chemicals are used.

Unfortunately, sometimes the effects of exposure to chemicals are difficult to pick up until chronic illness has occurred.

There are many chemicals used on the farm and some of them can be dangerous. Common agricultural chemicals include fuels, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and veterinary chemicals. Exposure to chemicals can lead to health effects including headache, poisoning, respiratory illness, burns, cancers and birth defects. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions for storage, transport, use and disposal of chemicals. Keep all chemicals locked away and out of reach of children and wear appropriate protective gear.
Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

Fast facts:

Chemical handling

  • Treat all chemicals with extreme caution and follow instructions carefully.
  • Wear protective clothing, cover exposed skin, and wear gloves, goggles and a face mask if required.
  • Store chemicals safely, out of children’s reach and away from seeds and fertilisers.
  • Do training and learning about safe handling of pesticides.
  • Report any adverse events to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

Last updated: 15th August, 2017