SAFE WITH PESTICIDES! READ THE LABEL.
Lesson Plan for Pesticide Applicator Training
Pesticide applicator trainees solve a
problem together and learn how to make pesticide use decisions.
1. To help the applicator learn how to
use pesticides safely by understanding the pesticide label.
2. To motivate applicators to adopt safety
pesticide containers. Print 4 "labels" and attach to the containers:
|Zappo 2EC with a danger signal word
Zappo 4EC with a danger signal word
Blammo with a warning signal word
Kill-em with a caution signal word.
Trainees are presented with a problem to solve.
Trainees generate a list of questions needed
to solve problem.
The speaker describes the parts of the pesticide
Trainees determine which parts of the label
were used to solve the problem.
Trainees list those parts of the label they
neglected to use in solving the problem.
The speaker describes the take home activity
and administers the evaluation.
BE SAFE WITH PESTICIDES! READ THE
Speaker's Directions and Script
the lesson begins
For audiences of less than 50, pass out
name badges or name cards and markers. Encourage everyone to write their
first name large enough so that you can read their names from the front
of the room. Don't forget your own badge or card.
the lesson on the flip chart or overhead:
Problem solving exercise
Review parts of the pesticide label
Take home activity
warm-Up (Speaker's comments are in quotation marks)
Put members of the audience into pairs.
Ask them to, "Tell your partner what you do in your job with pesticides."
Allow only 2-3 minutes, then begin the lesson. Use a kitchen timer or turn
the lights on/off when time is up. This exercise is a critical part of
the lesson. The members of the audience need to feel comfortable talking
in the classroom and they need to feel comfortable with each other to do
this lesson. They need to feel that the classroom is a safe environment.
This lesson works best when given at the end of a series of PAT modules.
solving exercise (Speaker's comments are in quotation marks)
"Here is a problem for you to solve:
You are the pesticide applicator at the
Green Hills Golf Course. Your boss calls you in and says that the CEO of
DuPont will be playing the course next week and there are bugs in the turf
on the 9th hole. He wants you to get right over there and take
care of the problem. So you go to the pesticide storage facility &
open the door. You need to decide which pesticide to use. How do you do
this? What questions do you ask yourself to decide which pesticide to use?
What do you need to know before you can make a pesticide application?"
For audiences less than 50:
Hand a marker to a member of the audience
and ask him/her to record the audiences' questions on the flip chart. If
you use the applicator's first name and hand him/her the marker, they will
be willing to help out. It works every time. Hand the roll of masking tape
to another applicator, call on them by name, and ask them to tape the sheets
on the wall as they fill up. It works every time. Volunteer yourself as
the "spell checker."
For audiences over 50:
Have the trainees write their questions
on slips of papers. Arrange for facilitators to collect the papers.
Read some of the submitted questions while a facilitator writes the questions
on an overhead projector.
Typical questions that will be generated:
Will the pesticide kill the bug?
Can I use it on turf?
Is it harmful to people?
Will it hurt the environment?
What PPE is needed?
How much do I apply?
How do I mix it?
When do I apply it?
Where do I apply it?
How do I apply it?
Keep saying that the questions are very
good. Support the efforts of the applicators.
"Now we are going to set our lists of questions
aside for a minute and look at the handout, 'The
ABC's of a Pesticide Label'." Put the flip chart to the side. Pass
out the handout. Give the members of the audience time to look at their
handout while you say, "Be sure to read the label 5 times:
Before you buy the product
before you store it
before you mix & load
before you apply, and again
before you dispose of the empty container."
"This handout lists every part of the label.
I'm going to emphasize certain sections:" The script that follows is abbreviated.
Pesticide Coordinators can elaborate and modify this script to meet state-specific
"(hold up a container) The formulation
tells you what the pesticide looks like when it pours out of the jug. You
must match the formulation with your application equipment. If the formulation
is a granule, you need to use a drop spreader. If the formulation is a
liquid, you need a pump-up sprayer, hose end sprayer or other liquid sprayer.
Some of your pesticides will be 'ready to use' so you won't need equipment."
"You must also match the formulation with
the pest problem. If you have a leaf-eating insect, a granular formulation
won't help. The granules won't stick to the leaves. You need to use a liquid
or a dust that will stick to the leaves. If you are treating broadleaf
weeds in the lawn, you can use a granular formulation."
"The formulation also tells you how concentrated
the pesticide is. Zappo 2EC (hold up container) has 2 pounds of active
ingredient in each gallon. Zappo 4EC (hold up container) has 4 pounds in
each gallon. Wait a minute!! This is interesting!! (point to the cap) Zappo
4EC is the same price as Zappo 2EC. How many of you say you'll buy 4EC??
You get twice as much for the same price!!" Take a vote. Most likely no
one will vote for either formulation because they know it is a trick question.
Explain the dangers of holding more inventory than you can use. Emphasize
that a "2 for 1 sale" can be expensive if EPA cancels the product and you
have to dispose of unwanted pesticide.
D. Type of pesticide: insecticide,
herbicide, fungicide, nematacide, rodenticide, moluscicide, avicide, picescide.
"You must also match the type of pesticide
to the pest." Review the types of pesticides and the pests they kill.
H. EPA numbers.
"These numbers tell you that the product
is legal. Before a company can begin to sell a pesticide they must submit
results of laboratory experiments to EPA. Once EPA has reviewed the documents,
they register (not approve) the pesticide and give it a number. If you
do not see an EPA number on a product that makes pesticidal claims (kills
or repels pests), that product is illegal."
I. Signal word
"There are 3 signal words. These words
tell you how toxic the product is to you the applicator, not to the pest
(hold up containers):
Danger, the most toxic
Warning, less toxicity
Caution, lowest toxicity."
"Here is a problem for you: You have a
beetle grub in turf. Let's look at the Zappo label (hold container up with
danger signal word). It says beetle grubs on the label. Let's look at KILL-EM
(hold container up with caution signal word). It also says beetle grubs
on the label and my county agent said both products would work the same.
But wait a minute!! Zappo is half the price of KILL-EM!! Wow!! What a deal!!
How many of you say to buy Zappo??" Take a vote. Most likely no one will
vote for either pesticide because they know it is a trick question. Explain
why use you should use the pesticide with a caution signal word, even if
it is more expensive. Emphasize that the signal word does not say how toxic
the product is to the pest. The product with a danger signal word is not
necessarily more effective.
Route of entry and Specific action
"This statement helps you pick PPE. There
are 4 routes of entry: dermal, eyes, respiratory, ingestion. What are the
sites of greatest absorption? (Answers: Groin, face, forehead.)
If the label says, 'fatal if swallowed,'
what would you do? (Answers: don't eat, smoke or drink while handling.
Use a face shield)
If the label says, 'don't breath vapors
and mists,' what would you do? (Answers: use a respirator, stay upwind)
If the label says, 'don't get on skin,'
what would you do? (Answers: Use chemically resistant gloves, fore arm
protectors, aprons, tyvek suits)
If the label says, 'keep out of eyes,'
what would you do? (Answers: wear goggles or face shield)."
"PPE means Personal Protective Equipment.
Look for this section on the label, but also use the signal word, route
of entry and specific action statements to help you choose PPE. The minimum
PPE is long-sleeved shirt and long-legged pants."
"When mix/loading, the forearms get 13%
of contamination from pesticide exposure. The hands get 85%. This adds
up to 98% of exposure that could be completely avoided by wearing rubber
gloves and forearm protection."
"What happens if you wear a baseball cap
or leather work boots?" (Answer: They will absorb pesticides and continue
to contaminate you every time you wear that item.)
K. User safety recommendations
"Sometimes even the right PPE is not enough.
Don't wipe your forehead, eat, smoke, drink while applying pesticides.
Wash hands before toileting."
L. First Aid
"You need to know first aid procedures
before you have an accident. Keep a copy of the label on a clip board in
the storage/ mixing/ loading area."
M. Environmental hazards
"Pesticides may be hazardous to water,
pollinating insects, birds, other wildlife. Make sure you plan ahead &
scout the area."
N. Directions for use.
"You will use this section a lot. It explains
when -- what time of year, what time of day -- and how you will make the
P. Storage and Disposal:
"Always store pesticides in a locked,
cool, dry, well ventilated, facility. The best facility has a sealed concrete
floor and stainless steel shelves."
"For disposal of unwanted pesticides,
the label will probably not give you specific information. Your county
may have a pesticide collection program. Check with your county extension
agent, state environmental protection agency, or state department of agriculture
"For disposal of empty containers, triple
rinse or jet rinse and take to your recycle site or sanitary land fill."
R. Mixing directions:
"This section tells you how to mix - what
solvents to use & how much."
S. Approved uses:
"This is a very important section. Site -
you can apply a pesticide only to a site listed on the label. Here is a
You have a problem with downy mildew in
the golf course roses. Here is Blammo. (Hold up the container) It says
it kills downy mildew pretty well. It lists mums, azalia, and ferns on
the label. Can you use on roses?"
Take a "Thumbs up/Thumbs down" vote &
then explain that the site, roses, must be on the label.
- if the product is effective against your particular pest, it will be
listed on the label. You will also find rates
and application equipment
Y & Z Chemical/ physical hazards:
"Make sure there are no sparks or fire
hazards. Make sure the pesticide does not get too hot or too cold."
to the flip chart
After reviewing "The ABC's of a Pesticide
Label," return to the flip chart. "Would it surprise you if I said that
you can find all the answers to these questions on the pesticide label?"
Ask the audience to help you code each item on the list using "The ABC's
of a Pesticide Label." For example, if the first question on the list is
"Will it kill the bug?", code this question "S" for Approved Uses. If the
second question is "Can I use it on azalia?", code that question "S" also.
If another question is "Do I have the right personal protective equipment
(PPE)?", code that question "J". The question "How much do I apply?", would
be coded "N".
Now review the coded list. Make another
list of letters that the audience did not use. They often forget C - formulation.
Remind them to check the forgotten parts of the label the next time they
buy and use a pesticide.
Wrap up your presentation with, "We've
learned a lot about the different parts of the pesticide label today and
how we can use the label to help us make decisions and practice safety."
Review the take home activity, "Making
Pesticide Applicator Decisions from the Label."
Pass out the evaluation
form. Ask the audience to write 3 pesticide safety practices that they
want to start using at home. Each person keeps the bottom copy of their
3-part NCR and gives you the top two copies. Tell them that you will send
the form back to them after they have used pesticides for a few months.
Tell them that you will ask them to check those practices that they have
used at least once and those that they have adopted as routine. See the
University of Delaware web page: http://www.udel.edu/pesticide/publications/safeprac.htm
for directions on conducting the evaluation.