Accidents sometimes happen. If all or part of the operator's clothing becomes saturated (soaked or wet) with pesticide at any time:
- The spraying must be stopped immediately and any wet clothing taken off.
- Any part of the operator's body which might have come into contact with pesticide must be washed immediately with plenty of soapy warm water. Do not use hot water as this opens the pores of the skin allowing pesticide to contaminate more of the skin, and to enter the body more easily.
(a) The clean-up team must wear protective clothing and equipment.
(b) Keep other people away from the spill area and carry out the clean-up immediately.
(c) The spill area must be covered with a layer of sand or other absorbent material thick enough to soak up the pesticide. It is equally important to make sure that the spilled pesticide does not spread. Building a bund (a small wall of soil or absorbent material) around the spillage area is the best way of containing the chemical.
- Obviously, it is easier to clean up spillages outside buildings, especially on impervious surfaces, such as bitumen roads and concrete paths because they do not allow the liquid to soak away.
Spills on absorbent surfaces are more difficult to clean up. If this happens outside a building on absorbent soil, as much as possible of the layer of soil which has absorbed the pesticide will have to be removed. This area can then be covered with clean fill.
Inside a building a spill must not be allowed to spread. It must be covered with absorbent material. After the pesticide has been soaked up and the absorbent material is removed, the contaminated area will need to be cleaned.
(e) Once the absorbent material has been removed from an impervious surface outside a building, the spillage area should then be washed thoroughly with water and soap/detergent. The water used for washing should not be allowed to run over the ground, or into water courses or storm drains. The wash-down water should be directed as much as possible into a 50 cm deep hole which can be covered with soil when the clean-up is finished.
The nature of the surfaces inside a building may make it difficult to carry out a wash-down and clean-up. For example: in the case of carpets, rugs and mats. This may require special cleaning methods or the removal of the floor covering.
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Advice on cleaning up major pesticide spills should be obtained from the EHO or the EHP supervisor.
Fig. 5.42: Pesticide spills must be cleaned up safely.