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Safe Chemical Handling On Farms 

Chemicals are a necessary part of many farming operations. They can help assist the production of high-yielding crops and pasture as well as livestock. 


Some common chemicals used in the agricultural industry are insecticides, herbicides, fuel and cleaners. They can come in a variety of forms like liquids or powders. Safety around handling these chemicals can be maintained by ensuring there is proper storage, transportation, usage and disposal in your facilities. 


However, a majority of these chemicals are hazardous. These substances or mixtures can lead to health or physicochemical hazards in the workplace so it’s crucial to have the proper storage. 


How to identify hazardous chemicals in the workplace?


A great way to identify hazardous chemicals is by checking the label and safety data sheet (SDS). At least once every five years manufacturers or suppliers are required to review their datasheets. If you’re needing guidance on what information should be included in an SDS you can check your state’s Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practice. 


Exposure standards


For hazardous chemical usage in Australia, the workplace exposure standards list approximately 700 chemicals. If the farmer’s responsibility is to ensure their workers are not subjected to airborne contaminants that may be above the workplace exposure standard. 


Having an emergency plan


Your workplace should be prepared with an effective emergency plan. Its purpose should be to minimise any dangerous occurrences or near misses caused by accidental mishandling or storing of chemicals. Your plan should have a list of emergency services and contact details. 


Also, ensure that all farm staff and operators should know where they can access your emergency plan.


Ways to safely store and handle chemicals:


Here are some suggestions for safe chemical storage 

  • Keep your chemicals in their original containers. Don’t transfer or pour them into different bottles. 

  • Ensure bottles and containers have been correctly labelled with warning placards and safety signs. 

  • Keep your chemicals locked in a well-ventilated shed with floors that can withstand spills. 

  • Do not store your chemicals with personal protective equipment (PPE) when not in use. 

  • PPE like boots, face masks, gloves and goggles should be provided to ensure a higher level of safety control.

  • Keep the manufacturer’s instructions for proper storage and usage 

  • Maintain a hazardous chemical register to take note of when and where they are being used on your property. 

  • Ensure that the people using these chemicals are suitably trained.

  • Triple rinse all empty containers and puncture them after use to prevent repurposing

  • Contact your local council regarding proper disposal methods for any and all empty containers. 

  • Consider exploring the option of having a contamination shower on site.


If you’re in the market for chemical handling equipment, have a browse at some of the machinery we have for sale. From liquid fertiliser trailers, handlers, and even saddle tanks, we have it all. 


We’re the liquid handling experts! If you need a custom solution for your farming needs, our Burando Hill Katanning workshop staff can handle any custom work you need. 


If you have any questions or need help finding the right equipment, please contact us at 1300 287 263 and our staff will be happy to talk you through what you need. 

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