Essential Info

Poisons Information Centre 13 11 26.


Users of pesticides often expose themselves to potential side effects when not taking due care in the handling

and usage of chemicals. Users may not think they have been affected at the time of application, however the

side effects are not always immediate or noticeable. Users can experience either acute or chronic poisoning.


Acute poisoning occurs when the user is exposed to high dosage of pesticide. This typically occurs as a

result of an accident during mixing such as a burst hose or spillage of chemicals.


Chronic Poisoning results from being exposed to small amounts of pesticide over many occasions during

an extended period of time. Chronic poisoning can often be a result of improper use of pesticides during

handling and/ or the lack of protective gear (e.g. respirators, gloves and aprons).  Note that protective gear

should be cleaned, inspected and maintained after each use to continue its effectiveness.


Types of Poisoning:

There are two levels of poisoning relating to the severity of side effects however it is important to

note that even if the user only experiences mild side effects, they must take note and change their

approach as mild exposure and symptoms may lead to more sever results in the future.


Symptoms of mild poisoning: 

  • headache                        

  • sweating

  • diarrhoea

  • irritation of nose and throat

  • eye irritation

  • nausea

  • fatigue

  • changes of mood

  • skin irritation

  • insomnia

  • loss of appetite

  • thirst

  • weakness

  • restlessness

  • dizziness

  • sore joints

  • nervousness



These symptoms are not exclusive to pesticide poisoning, consult a doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. This is not a definitive list of symptoms from pesticide poisoning. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms contact your doctor immediately.






It is vitally important to know the chemical you are using and the regular symptoms associated with mild and sever poisoning. This information is important to know in the event of poisoning to quickly identify the cause of the issue and necessary medical actions that must be taken. The severity of poisoning can differ based on the concentration of exposure, type of formulation and how the user has been exposed to the pesticide.


Types and Signs of Pesticide Poisoning

It is important to note that some users may develop an allergic reaction to these chemicals and these symptoms may not be the result of poisoning. Allergic reactions may be more sever in some users than others.


Avoiding These Risks

There are many ways of preparing yourself to handle harmful pesticides. Firstly we highly recommend educating yourself in any way possible. This can include reading pesticide labels or speaking with a doctor prior to using pesticides.


Poisons Information Centre

Contacting the Poisons information centre on 13 11 26 is also a great way to learn more about your health and safety when handling chemicals. The Poisons information centre is operated by pharmacists and scientists who have been trained specially to provide an information service to the public. This information centre is open 24/7.






ChemCert is and Australian non-profit organisation that focuses on educating Australian workers

on the correct and safe use of chemicals. ChemCert is the peak accreditation body that focuses on

training and upskilling of users of Agricultural and Veterinary chemicals. Ultrasafe Products highly

recommends that all users of chemicals contact ChemCert for more information on courses related

to their line of work.

ChemCert offers highly skilled trainers/ assessors and advisors with skills including researchers,

agronomists, leading farming advisors and commercial spray operators. ChemCert also offers a free

quarterly newsletter with valuable new information and legislation updates of which you can sign

up on their website.


For more information visit our page on ChemCert or visit their website


  1. Australian Government Department of Health. 2010. 16 First aid procedures for pesticide poisoning. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2019]. Types of poisoning:


  1. 1989. Signs and Symptoms of Pesticide Poisoning. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2019].


  1. Extension University Missouri. 2002. Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms and First Aid. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2019].

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Symptoms of Sever poisoning:

  • vomiting

  • convulsions

  • loss of reflexes

  • unconsciousness

  • inability to breathe

  • fever

  • muscle twitching

  • thirst

  • constriction of eye pupils (eye pupils become small)

  • increased rate of breathing

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State Legislation

Chemical users must understand their responsibilities and expectations when using or storing chemicals. Each state will have its own set of legislation for users to follow.



QLD Work Health and Safety

WA Dangerous Goods Safety (General) Regulations 2007

VIC Worksafe Hazardous Substances Compiance Code

QLD Dangerous goods Safety Regulation

Safe Work Australia Hazardous Chemicals Code of Practise

NSW Pesticide Code of Conduct

Safework SA Chemical Handling Reglations

NSW Pesticide regulation