Protective equipment must be selected carefully. Always test fit the protective equipment to be sure it fits properly and comfortably. If it isn't comfortable -- it won't be worn; if it isn't worn -- it won't protect. |
Vision is one of our most important senses and damage from eye injuries is often permanent. Eyes are exposed to many dangers in agriculture, physical and chemical.
There is a wide variety of eye protection available, ranging from safety glasses to totally protective goggles. Selection should be made according to the hazard and risk.
Perscription glasses and safety glasses offer little protection when working with chemicals that can splash or spread like fumes do. Safety glasses can be enhanced with side shields which offer some protection from splash around the sides. They rarely meet label requirements for pesticide safety.
Goggles offer more protection than safety glasses. They are shielded all around the lens, preventing entry of particles from any angle. Adequate protection is provided if the right type of venting is selected (Figure 2).
Safety goggles have three types of venting:
open vents for impact protection only indirect vents for chemical splash protection non-vented for protection from gases, mists and fumes.
Pesticides are readily absorbed into the body through the ear canal. Ear plugs can prevent pesticide entry through the ears.
A wide variety of ear plugs is available, ranging from simple cylindrical foam plugs to contoured polyurethane foam inserts with a loss prevention cord or band (Figure 3). Ear plugs are not intended to have a long service life. Use them for a few wearings and then replace them. Some can be cleaned, but the low price makes them economical to replace.
Types of ear protectors.
Ear muffs are available for protective wear during pesticide work. However, their price keeps them from being considered disposable like ear plugs. Ear muffs will require careful cleaning when contaminated from pesticide exposure.
Ear plugs and muffs are not rated in regard to how well they keep pesticides out of the body, but they are rated in regard to protection from excessive noise. The protection from pesticide exposure is an added benefit. When selecting this protective equipment, be sure to consider the noise reduction rate (NRR) value for the product.
Inhaling pesticide fumes and mists is a very common entry route of pesticides into the body. Absorption through the lungs is great and the sensitivity is high.
Inhalation accounted for 21 percent of the pesticide exposures in North Dakota during 1994, second only to dermal exposure. Inhalation exposure is one of the easiest to prevent, simply by wearing readily available adequate personal protective equipment. NIOSH Approval
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, under authority of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, tests, approves, and certifies respiratory equipment as being safe for its intended purpose. Alwaysbe certain that the NIOSH compliance number is on the product before purchasing respiratory equipment.
Two systems of respiratory protection are available, depending on the type of respiratory risk involved: air-purification (filtering) and air-supplying. For most pesticide work, the air-purifying equipment is adequate and safe. Air-Purifying Equipment
Air-purifying equipment filters pesticide particles and vapors from the air, but it does not provide oxygen where it is deficient. The pesticide can be in the form of a dust, mist, fume, or vapor. Dusts and mists are easiest to filter from the air. Fumes and vapors are more difficult and require more specific protection.
Depending on the pesticide, there is a wide variety of filtering respirators available, ranging from simple dust masks to powered air protection respirators.
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