What are my responsibilities for highly toxic pesticides?

For Agricultural Employers

Highly Toxic Pesticides

Some of the most highly toxic pesticides are marked with a skull-and- crossbones symbol on the front label. It is required for products classified “highly toxic” for short-term exposures by mouth, skin, or lungs. It is also required when unlisted ingredients like methanol are present, which is known to cause blindness.

Your Requirements

Anytime a handler is performing handler activities with a pesticide marked with a skull-and-crossbones symbol on the front label, the handler employer must monitor the employee every two hours, or more frequently. This can be done either through visual monitoring or by voice communication. Text messages do not suffice. Contact must be visual or by voice.

Handler Activities

This requirement applies to handlers working with a pesticide marked with a skull-and-crossbones symbol on the front label and performing any of the following activities:

  • Mixing, loading, or applying pesticides
  • Disposing of pesticides
  • Handling opened and uncleaned pesticide containers, including emptying, triple-rinsing or cleaning
  • Acting as a flagger
  • Cleaning, adjusting, handling or repairing pesticide equipment used to mix, load or apply pesticides
  • Assisting with pesticide applications
  • Entering an enclosed space after the application of a pesticide and before adequate ventilation. Learn more...
  • Entering outdoor areas treated with any soil fumigant during the restricted-entry interval (REI), to adjust or remove coverings used in fumigation
  • Performing crop advisor tasks during any pesticide application or REI (outdoors), or before adequate ventilation (indoors). Learn more...

Handler Employer

A handler employer may be an agricultural employer or a commercial pesticide handler employer.

Learn more:

What are my responsibilities as an agricultural employer?

Regulatory Guidance

Browse brief guides about protections for workers and handlers, the AEZ, posting, PPE, exemptions, training, respirators, and more, in English and Spanish.

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