Landscaping - Pesticides - Personal Protective Equipment

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What are some general guidelines concerning PPE and pesticides?

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Use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for the pesticide in use.

Pesticides, herbicides, and other pest control products vary widely in their toxicity. They can be severely irritating or corrosive to the skin or even cause death. Some are also readily absorbed through intact skin.

Many pesticides are handled as powders that can form airborne dust and may be inhaled. Other pest control products may be sprayed and form mists in the air. Some formulations contain volatile solvents that can evaporate forming a vapour that may be hazardous above certain airborne concentrations.

Therefore, it is very important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding the personal protective equipment and clothing that should be used when handling a pesticide. Refer to the OSH Answers document Designing an Effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program for further information.

Please see the OSH Answers series on Pesticides for more information about how to work safely with pesticides, first aid, labels, re-entry time, etc.

There are many tips in other Landscaping OSH Answers documents.

What are some tips for using PPE when handling pesticides?

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Tips for all PPE

  • Check all items of PPE each time to make sure they are clean and free of holes or other defects before putting them.
  • Read the pesticide’s label, Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and any other manufacturer or supplier instructions to find out the PPE you should wear when handling this product. These instructions often include instructions about the type of PPE and what material they should be made of.
Protective clothing
  • Depending on the specific pesticide and how it is being used, use chemical protective clothing when there is:
    • chance of spilling or splashing liquids or
    • contact with spray..
  • Wear loose-fitting protective clothing to reduce stretching at seams that could develop into tears or holes.

Respiratory Protection

  • Choose an approved respirator according to fit, chemical and amount of likely exposure.
  • Refer to the OSH Answers documents Respirator Care and Respirator Selection for further information.


  • Wear waterproof, washable material. Do not use leather or cloth hats or sweatbands because these materials can absorb and retain pesticides.
  • Choose helmets, hoods or hats that protect the head, neck and upper shoulders. Select CSA-approved safety hats with rain trough brim.

Eye Wear

  • Wear chemical goggles and a face shield when mixing or spraying pesticides.


  • Wear durable, chemical-resistant gauntlet gloves which extend up the forearm. Remember that waterproof gloves are not necessarily chemical-resistant.
  • Do not wear leather, paper, or fabric gloves. These materials can absorb and retain pesticides.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions to prevent getting pesticides on your hands when removing contaminated gloves (e.g., wash the outside of gloves before removing them).
  • For additional protections, wear a light pair of disposable gloves under the outer gloves. Discard the disposables after each use.
  • Wear relatively loose-fitting outer gloves for easy removal.


  • Wear boots made of appropriate chemical-resistant material, not leather or fabric.
  • Wear long-legged pants over the top of the boots, and an apron that extends below boot tops when mixing and loading liquid pesticides.
  • Wash boots after each use.

How can I reduce the chances of contamination?

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  • Stand upwind of all spraying operations.
  • Wear the recommended PPE when handling, cleaning up, and repairing equipment that has been used to apply a pesticide.
  • Avoid touching “clean” surfaces such as steering wheel and door handles while wearing contaminated gloves or thoroughly clean these surfaces afterwards with water and detergent.
  • Treat all clothing worn while handling pesticide as contaminated, and handle with chemical-resistant gloves.
  • Store contaminated clothing separately from regular laundry and out of reach of children and pets.
  • Launder contaminated clothing separately from the regular family laundry; rinse or pre-treat the contaminated clothing before washing them in hot water; re-wash two or three times, as recommended.
  • After washing the contaminated clothing, rinse the washing machine by running it through a complete cycle with detergent.
  • Contaminated leather products (e.g., shoes, boots, belts) cannot be decontaminated and should be discarded as hazardous waste.

What, in general, should I do if my skin or eyes becomecontaminated?

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  • Remove all contaminated clothing immediately.
  • Follow the first-aid advice for skin and eye contact on the pesticide’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and label.
  • For skin contact: Scrub the contaminated area vigorously with soap and water.
  • Wash entire body, including hair, with soap and water.
  • Rinse with clean water for at least 15 minutes.
  • For eye contact: Rinse the eyes at an eye-wash station or with clean water and seek medical attention.
  • Any co-workers who help you should wear gloves and rubber boots and take precautions to prevent contaminating themselves.
  • Contaminated clothing should be bagged and tagged, indicating which pesticide product was used.
  • Clean contaminated clothing, or discard if contaminated following manufacturer instructions.
  • Read the pesticide’s label and SDS to find out if it can be absorbed through intact skin and what health effects might happen after exposure. Some acute or short-term effects can start right after exposure; other effects can be delayed from several hours to several days.
  • Seek medical attention if you feel unwell, or if it is recommended in the label, SDS, or other manufacturer information. Take the SDS and other manufacturer information with you. Medical staff will need this information to treat you correctly.


Personal Protective Equipment

  • Fact sheet confirmed current: 2022-05-25
  • Fact sheet last revised: 2022-05-25