Proper Storage of Pesticides (AWSA)

Every industry should try to reduce the risk of fires, spills and industrial accidents. Agriculture is no different.  Everyone has a responsibility in ensuring pesticides are safely stored.

On-Farm Storage Requirements

Each provincial agriculture department should be able to provide a list of requirements surrounding on-farm storage of pesticides. Check for the guidelines in your province.

In Ontario for example, growers can purchase a prefabricated unit or build a separate structure that will be used exclusively to store pesticides. If you’re going to build your own structure think of things like ventilation to the outside and the floor, which must be impervious and have no drains.  

According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, all scheduled pesticides must be stored so that they:

  • Will not impair health or safety
  • Will not have any contact with food and drink intended for human or animal consumption
  • Will not contaminate the natural environment or any other pesticides stored in the same area

A separate, free-standing building is the most desirable storage. If the pesticide storage facility is constructed within another building, it is recommended that interior separation walls and ceilings of the pesticide storage have a fire resistance rating of not less than 1 hour.

There are requirements around ventilation, access and signage. Check with your provincial government for more information. It’s also important to keep pesticides locked in a secure location. If signage is required, it can make the area a target for theft.

Other safety requirements include easy access to labels for easy identification. Keep pesticides in their original container. Also, have protective clothing stored in a spot that is easily accessible so there are no excuses for not wearing the proper gear. Keep absorbant material nearby too (such as sawdust, kitty litter, soil or rags) in case there is an accident.

Warehousing Storage

The Agrichemical Warehouse Standards Association (AWSA) – the largest industry self-regulated program in Canada -- provides assurances that crop protection products are being stored and distributed in a safe and responsible manner. Like other CropLife Canada member companies, DuPont will not ship products to a warehouse unless it is AWSA certified.

Protecting people and the environment

The AWSA Certified Warehousing Standards address 11 major areas of potential risk:

  • Fire
  • Spills (minor or major)
  • Flood
  • Explosion
  • Personal injury
  • Occupational health
  • Personnel training
  • Mechanical equipment safety
  • Shipping and receiving design safety
  • Adequate lighting
  • Sources of ignition for flammable liquids

Strict standards

According to AWSA standards, new pesticide storage facilities cannot be built near homes, schools, hospitals or other highly populated areas. Precautions such as dyking and containment must be taken to prevent potential contamination of environmentally sensitive areas. Fire monitoring must be provided on a 24-hour basis.

In addition, warning and emergency signs must be clearly posted at all storage facilities. For flammable and combustible products, special storage precautions must be provided. Every warehouse employee must be trained in the safe handling of pesticide products, first aid and emergency procedures. Emergency response planning for each storage facility is mandatory.

While there is no guarantee that a fire or other mishap will not occur, the Standards go a long way towards eliminating such incidents at the source and minimizing the risks should a problem arise.

The information provided on this website is for reference only. Always refer to the product labels for complete details and directions for use.