Spraying machines need special attention because of the toxic agents used for spraying. By following a set pattern, you can ensure that you do not expose yourself unnecessarily to the poisons and your sprayer is kept in the best working order.
Important steps to take before switching on the machine:
- Ensure that the driving shaft is connected correctly and the pipes do not lie on the shaft where they could become chafed.
- A safety screen around the driving shaft is essential. It should be fastened down and must not turn with the driving shaft.
- The tank, filling sieve and suction filter must be clean.
- Make sure the spraying machine is level before filling it.
- Fill half of the tank through the filling sieve with water.
- Mix all wettable powders in separate containers outside of the tank.
- Add the poison solution through the filling sieve in the tank, then fill up the rest of the tank with water.
- Ensure that there are no leaks.
When the tractor is switched on, check that the pump and pipes do not leak. Make sure that the driving shaft is turning correctly and the pressure gauge and tachometer are in good working order.
- Always keep an eye on the pressure gauge and be sure the pressure is correct.
- Never spray in a strong wind.
- Try to drive the tractor at a steady speed.
- Do not allow another person on the spraying machine.
- Empty the tank at a suitable, predetermined dump yard.
- Rinse the tank with a soapy solution.
- Never leave any spray in the tank overnight.
- Rinse the spraying machine as well as the tractor.
- Wash all the sieves.
- Clean the spray plates with an old toothbrush; never blow or suck them clean.
- At the end of the spraying season, wash the tank thoroughly. Fill it half-full with soapy water, and then spray out the water until the tank is empty.
- Next, fill the tank with 300l of clean water. Spray out about 200l to get rid of the remaining soap. Add 1l of diesel to the remaining 100l of water in the tank. Now empty the tank by spraying. The diesel serves as a lubricant and helps to prevent rust.
- Finally, clean all sieves.
The human element
- If spray accidentally touches your skin, immediately wash the area with soap and water.
- Never eat or drink while working with sprays.
- Never take off your overalls while you are spraying. Put them on before you mix the spraying agents, and keep them on until you have cleaned and put away the spraying machine.
- Wash your overalls after you have finished spraying. Do not take them home.
- Never put or store any toxic agent in a soft drink bottle. This could proof fatal.
- Never eat fruit that has been sprayed. It can make you very ill or even lead to death.
- If you have been ‘poisoned’, the first signs will be a headache, tiredness and nausea. You will perspire heavily, have diarrhoea and your eyes will water.
- If you cannot obtain medical help immediately, you will experience convulsions and go into a coma, with eventual collapse of the heart and lungs.
Remember: if you feel ill after you have worked with toxic agents, seek medical help!