Proper Chemical Protection and Cleaning Are So Important

Proper Chemical Protection and Cleaning Are So Important

Posted by Andrew Greess on Jun 22, 2018

Safety is free, don't use it sparingly. It's the law to use PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) while we are spraying on a job, but it's before the job starts in our trucks and after the job is done that we could always use some extra help remembering ways to stay healthy and safe. Clean equipment after leaks and other forms of contamination. Using equipment that is corroded or covered in spilled chemical is unsafe and what kind of message does it send to your customer. We are human and not indestructible, just because you use your PPE when spraying but not when you clean or pull apart your equipment doesn't balance things out. Chemical on your skin at any time is not safe.

As the boss you need to make sure that your technician's trucks and equipment is getting cleaned. It sends a good message to your clients. Equipment with spilled pesticides or insecticides caked to the sides isn't safe and it doesn't leave a good impression. We build skid mounts for sprayers to raise it off the floor of the truck bed making it easier to take a hose and spray down the equipment removing buildup. 

In the "Don't let this happen to you" area we have an example of technician's rig that likely had a lot of chemical buildup around the 100-gallon tank. All it took was one cigarette to ignite it while going down the freeway! If you make your technician's keep their trucks clean and double check that as the boss before they leave for the jobsite. Accidents like that can and will be avoided.

Stay tuned to the next segment on Chemical Spill Prevention:

Andrew Greess: Chemical issues. I'm going to talk about two chemical issues. One is exposure to the technician, the other is chemical spills. This was a respirator that one of my pest control customers came in, he says, "Hey, Andy, you think I need a new respirator?" "Yeah, I think you needed a new respirator about 12 years ago." This was crazy, but that was his respirator.

What I want to talk about first is using your PPE, your personal protective equipment. Use your PPE all the time, not just when you're applying chemicals. As an industry, we do a good job of using our PPE while we're spraying, while we're applying chemicals. It's the law, so we do it.

Where I see issues is other times. For example, a tech will bring a spray gun into our shop and say, "Hey, this is leaking, can you fix it?" There are chemicals dripping all over his hand.

I actually have a great example of that. We got a call from someone, I don't even know where they were, they said, "Do you sell quick disconnects?" We said, "Sure. What size, or what brand?" "I don't know." "Can you send us a picture?" "Sure." This is the picture he sent us.

The weed guys will see that this is probably preemergent with dye in it, and it's all over this guy's hand. My guess would be, when this person is out spraying, they're probably using gloves, but for some reason, they think the chemicals don't matter when you're not spraying, so use your PPE all the time.

I'm going to address the men. I'm going to be a little bit chauvinistic here. The women are smart. It's always the men who do stupid stuff like this. You're not indestructible. You've got to use your PPE. It's not worth taking this kind of risk.

Here's another great example. This is a sprayer that was brought in for service. It was a 100gallon weed sprayer in the back of a Gator, and we took one look at this and saw that...This is preemergent, for you pest control guys, this is preemergent that's been spilling all over this tank for probably months.

You can tell there's different layers and different colors, and there's chemical, just been sloshing around this thing for a long, long time. There's no way that you could be using this equipment and not getting chemical on you. There's just chemicals everywhere, there's too much of it.

This is unsafe for the technician, and in my opinion, it's not acceptable for the company. This was a Gator that was used to go spray weeds around an apartment complex. Think about the message you're sending to your customers if your name is on this, if this is Andrew's weed control company.

It's terrible, and so if you're the technician, in my opinion, you need to raise your hand and say, "Boss, I need some time to clean my equipment," and if you're the boss, you need to say, "Hey, wait a minute. We've got to get that cleaned before you go out," because this is just unsafe, in my opinion.

We want to prevent chemical buildup on your equipment, in your vehicle, and if you're the technician or the boss, you've got to inspect and clean your stuff. Here's one of the ways we do it. This is one of the ways we build a skid sprayer is, we raise it up so you can take a hose and clean your truck out, so it's not building up chemical continuously.

We see a lot of chemical spill inside the frame of the sprayer, and it's almost impossible to get that cleaned if it's not raised up. That's one way to do it.

This is a great photo. This was a dual tank. There used to be two 100gallon tanks on this vehicle, and it caught fire, and the two 100gallon tanks melted. Chemical ran everywhere, and this whole sprayer was a total loss.

The technician said, "I was driving down the freeway, and some other driver flicked a cigarette butt into my vehicle, and it caught fire and burned." [laughs] We didn't have a lie detector test there at the time, but that would be a heck of a shot, for one 60 mile an hour vehicle to flick a cigarette butt into another 60 mile an hour vehicle. Hell of a shot.

In my opinion, what probably happened here was, the tech had a filthy, disgusting vehicle covered in chemical, was smoking a cigarette, flicked his cigarette butt into the vehicle and drove off, and this happened. It caught fire on I17, and he got away with it.

The cops did not show up, no one caught him, didn't get fined, but it cost the company a couple thousand bucks to fix this, and it could have been worse. That could have been on the news, so another reason to keep your vehicles clean and be glad this wasn't you.

If you missed the first videos in the series, please check out those blog posts here:

Spray Equipment Safety Training Seminar Introduction

Rules for Spray Equipment Safety Seminar Discussion

What are the Safety Risk Seminar Topics?

Vehicle Equipment Security: Protecting Your Driver and Others

Vehicle Equipment Security Securing Your Backpack, Gas Can, Hose Reel

Learn Which Vehicle Equipment Areas to Inspect Carefully

A Quick Check Can Keep You Out of Hall of Shame

The Importance of Checking Your Rig and Proper Equipment

Importance of Proper Vehicle Load Stability

How to Avoid Cuts, Burns & Abrasions on the Job

Preventing Slipping Injuries

Injury Prevention on the Job

How to Help Minimize Back Strain

Job Site Safety Tips to Help Avoid Injuries

You can also check out the slides from the Spray Equipment Safety Seminar here

For more information on Andrew Greess, visit