Pesticides At Work

Farm workers can come into contact with pesticides while at work. For their health and the health of their family, it's important that they protect themselves. If a farm worker has come into contact with a pesticide or is showing signs and symptoms of being exposed to pesticides, it is very important to report it.

To report a possible pesticide exposure, call your local County Agricultural Commissioner's office. You can get the number and be connected by calling toll-free 1-877-378-5463. You can report pesticide problems without giving your name. Make sure to have the name of the county where the pesticide exposure happened.

If you think you may have been exposed and want to talk to a medical expert for free over the phone anytime, day or night, call California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 in Spanish and over 100 other languages.

If a farm worker thinks that pesticides have made them sick at work, the employer must make sure that they are taken to the doctor immediately.


Protecting yourself at work

  • Wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt
  • Put on a hat and cover your neck and mouth
  • Wear sunglasses or safety glasses
  • If possible, wear gloves
  • Wash hands before eating
  • Watch out for signs that an area has been sprayed with pesticide and keep out

After work

  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Change out of work clothes and work shoes
  • Put work clothes in a bag separate from other clothes
  • Never go into the house with work shoes on
  • Don't hug or touch children if you are wearing work clothes
  • Shower after work
  • Wash work clothes separately from the rest of the family clothes
  • Never take pesticide or empty pesticide containers home from work
  • Never use pesticide containers for food, water or anything else

Farm Worker Rights

  • Farm workers have the right to know what pesticides have been used and when they were used
  • The work site must keep records of the pesticide name, active ingredient and EPA registration number and allow workers to see the records
  • Workers have the right to see the pesticide records anytime and also to:
  • — Report unsafe work conditions without being punished or fired

    — File for worker's compensation

    — Look at Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)


How to be safe from pesticides at work

After Work: Staying safe for your family


Suiting up for work

Wear a long sleeved shirt

Putting on a hanky

Cover your head and mouth

Wearing a hanky and hat

Wear a hat

Putting on sunglasses

Wear protective glasses

Putting on workboots

Wear closed-toe shoes or boots

Washing hands

Wash your hands before eating and after work

Pulling shirt from bag

Take off work clothes and shoes and put them in a bag

Clothing line

Wash work clothes separately from the family laundry

Worker picking grapes

Cover your head, neck and mouth and wear gloves at work

Worker on tractor

People who apply pesticides must wear special protective clothing