Safe Chemical Handling for the 2024 Growing Season

By: Doug Hoffman, Safety Director

As we prepare for another busy growing season here in UFC territory, it’s crucial that we prioritize chemical safety. Proper handling and application of agricultural chemicals protects our people, communities, and environment. Keep the following chemical safety protocols in mind to keep yourself and those around you safe!

  1. Before any chemicals even arrive on your operation this year, take time to review your chemical storage areas. Keep storage sites secure, properly ventilated, and away from water sources, living areas, and feed storage. Dispose of any old, cancelled, or unusable products through a qualified chemical waste disposal program.

  2. When chemicals are delivered, carefully examine all containers, and make sure they are acceptable condition with proper labeling and instructions. Pay close attention to signal words, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, and handling precautions on every label. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

  3. Wearing proper PPE is one of the most important things you can do to prevent chemical exposure. At minimum, chemically resistant gloves, protective eyewear, coveralls, and chemical resistant footwear should be worn when handling, mixing, or applying crop protection products. Never cut corners on PPE – your health and safety are too important.

  4. Avoiding chemical drift and environmental contamination must also be a top priority. Only spray when wind speeds are between 3-10 mph, blowing away from sensitive areas. Use drift reduction nozzles and maintain appropriate buffer zones around water sources, homes, schools, pollinator habitats and other sensitive sites.

  5. Triple rinsing and returning containers for recycling or disposal per label directions is critical. Never burn or bury chemical containers. If a spill occurs, control and contain the spill, and review cleanup procedures on the product label.

  6. Finally, always keep chemicals securely stored and out of reach of children, pets, and livestock when not in use. Lock storage areas and post appropriate warning signs.

Working together, we can have a productive and safe 2024 season. Your UFC team is here to support you every step of the way with chemical handling education and resources. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever have any safety questions. Let’s make this year a success!

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