Farm Chemicals

Farm Chemicals and safety

Chemicals are used on dairy farms for cleaning, treating animals, controlling pests, applying as fertilisers and adding to feed. Other chemicals on farms include fuels, oils and various gases.

Asbestos is also present on many farms. Exposure to workers and others can occur during transport, storage, use and disposal of these chemicals.

Many chemicals have the potential to cause harm to human health and safety. Acute health effects include headaches, nausea or vomiting and skin injuries. Chronic health effects include asthma, dermatitis, nerve damage or cancer. Chemicals that are flammable, corrosive, explosive, chemically reactive or oxidising may also harm workers with more immediate effects such as burns.

Each hazardous chemical has a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) with information and instructions on how it can be stored, handled and used safely in the workplace.

There is a significant amount of regulation around management of hazardous chemicals on dairy farms.

This topic focuses on the impact of chemicals on people. Use the resources to ensure that you are managing a safe workplace and fulfilling your legal obligations.

A good place to start is Step by step – setting up safety for the use of chemicals on your farm


The Farm Safety Manual aims to make it straightforward for dairy farmers to build and improve a comprehensive farm safety system. 

Further information                            
Model Code of Practice: Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace
(Safe Work Australia)
Dangerous goods, including signage information (WorkSafe Victoria) PDF
Integrated pest management information (NSW EPA) Website
Understanding Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals 
(Safe Work Australia)
Placard and manifest requirements (Safe Work Australia) Website
Purpose built chemical storage facilities (Shade Sheds)
ChemCert information on AgVet chemicals and training Website
Asbestos (Safe Work Australia) Website
Glove guide (Ansell) Website
Disposal / Left over chemicals
ChemClear national chemical disposal service Website
Drum Muster empty container disposal / recycling service Website
Managing disposal of Rinsate (NSW EPA) PDF
Bunding and spill management (SA EPA) PDF
Managing leftover chemicals
(Dept. Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment – Tasmania)
Washdown and disposal pit diagram 
(Dept. Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment – Tasmania)