A look at the top items of safety gear every pest manager should own.
Most pest managers have good personal safety gear and know how to use it. However, it’s always worth having a refresher on the important pieces of kit and how to care for them.
A high quality respirator, such as a Sundström, is a must for pest managers. There are two types of breathing protection options for pest managers: filter protection (where air comes from the surrounding environment) and breathing apparatus where the air is supplied from an independent source. Most pest managers will only require a filter mask for general spraying and inspection activities.
Respirator performance is based on good fit and filter choice, with particulate and/or gas filters being available. For many pest managers, combination filters will be the choice. Regular cleaning of the mask is a must (check manufacturer recommendations) – it’s a good habit to strip down and clean the components after each day’s use.
Replacement of filters is important, but knowing when can be a challenge. Change particulate filters when breathing becomes more difficult (as the filter becomes blocked) but for gas performance there is no obvious measure, as performance will depend on types of exposure, exposure quantity, size and type of filter. Some manufacturers mention using the warning properties of a particular substance (if it starts to smell, irritate, etc.) as the indicator to change. However, some substances don’t smell. It may be best to set a regular replacement duration based on use level and experience (e.g. once every six months).
Face mask or goggles
With the need for eye protection when mixing and spraying, many pest managers consider whether to have a full face mask, which combines eye and face protection with the respirator, or a half mask, which just provides the respirator. For the half mask, goggles or a face shield will be required when spraying. Remember the goggles and face shields are designed to prevent spray accidentally getting into the eyes or onto the skin of the face, both very sensitive areas of the body. It is easy to forget that the head and scalp are also sensitive areas of the body that can easily pick up spray drift. The wearing of hats or headscarfs that can be washed each day, or using the hood of your spray suit, is recommended.
Both disposal and thick, reusable cotton overalls have their uses. Disposal overalls are a lot lighter and can be a good option for spraying in warm conditions. Of course, they should be disposed of after each use. Washable cotton overalls can provide better protection during inspections from sharps, but obviously, they will absorb chemicals and pick up dirt and fibres. When washing overalls, they should be washed on a hot wash cycle, in a washing machine dedicated to washing work overalls.
Gloves are invariably specified for mixing and application of insecticides: elbow length PVC or nitrile gloves. Tough-wearing gloves should also be worn in subfloors and roof voids to protect against sharps and irritations.
If you spend any length of time crawling in subfloors and roof voids, knee pads are a must. Due to their different properties, pest managers should have both hard and soft knee pads in their kit bag. Hard knee pads are best for subfloors, where protection against sharp objects is vital. For roof voids, grip is important to prevent slipping off joists, so soft knee pads (foam or gel) are often the better option.
First aid kit
A complete, regularly serviced first aid kit should be easily accessible in the ute, including sterile eye washes and compression bandages (in case of snake or funnel web bites only).
Looking after our customers at Globe Pest Solutions is more than just providing the best pest control products. When you’re next in store, have a chat about whether your safety gear is up to scratch.
Kevin Parsons, Operations Manager, Globe Pest Solutions