How things are changing!

Have you checked your store lately? Many of the old stalwart pesticides of the groundsman have now passed into history.?

Pesticides go out of date for many reasons. If the manufacturer stops making it and there is a two year run down period to clear the supplier chain. Please do not buy pesticides you will not use within two years.

Remember the four basic pillars of H&S -

People : Plant : Practices : Premises, - to this we must add Products used.


Are your operators qualified to spray? Have they attended MAPP approved update courses? Have YOU attended a MAPP approved update course?

You may have learned from experience how to spray over the last forty years but you must attend a course to ensure you know what is required under the FEPA Regulations or the new H&S Regulations!!!! Ignorance of the law is no defence in court.


The new update of the Pesticide Regulations is now through. All operators are now being asked to understand the implications of COSHH and the COSHH Assessment. Operators will be asked to understand the terms of Maximum Exposure Limit (MEL) and Occupational Exposure Standard (OES) and will be asked about these during the PA1 test. The minimum age for applying for a test is now 16 years.


The previous "Grandfather Clause" is now revoked. All Professional Users MUST have a Certificate of Competence


Safe working practices must be made up and adhered to - these are obviously based on the update courses attended and the Pesticide Approved Code of Practice.

The update also suggests


Engineering Controls

The development of controls in the amenity market has been troubled by some mis-information. Many salesmen are telling us that their products are now 'required by law' when no such law exists. They can be recommended and in some instances their product would appear to give the safest alternative, but law no. The latest incidence of this is the promotion of the mixing hopper to be fitted to a tractor hydraulic sprayer. On large sprayers this is almost 'de rigour'. However, in the majority of sprayers I see around grounds and golf courses, usually around 200 litre tanks, the mixer tanks would be almost as large as the sprayer tank!!

The APPROVED CODE OF PRACTICE requires you to look at how the pesticide is added to a tank and if this requires you to lift the measure and contents above chest height, investigate ways of preventing this - generally either to lower the sprayer on the hydraulics or if this is still too high to have steps and plinth to climb onto, to allow you to pour into the tanks at a better angle - the plinth would obviously have to be firm, the steps capable of being climbed with one hand carrying the measure, etc., etc.


There are some basic considerations which should be made


Many of the 'nasties' have now been taken the off the market. Mercuric chloride has gone, as has Sydane in 1992. This year, we saw the withdrawal of anything containing simazine or atrazine for use on areas of hard standing. This was due not as protection to the operator but due to the potential build up of these chemicals in our water supplies.

Gesatop (simazine) can still be used on nursery stock and forestry as long as you do not get it into waterways - recommendation is that whilst using a Tractor mounted sprayer keep at least 2 metres from ditches etc. and 1 metre whilst using a knapsack.

Ioxynil is a problem in all its products, Actrilawn, Super Verdone etc., as it can only be used with a tractor sprayer - use with a knapsack breaks the law!!!

PREVENTION : Substitution & Elimination - are you using safest effective product? Is there a substitute? Why are you using a more toxic substance? Why are you using a more difficult to handle formulation?

I recently made out a list of the pesticides used on Golf Courses and Sportsgrounds and can see a clear trend towards using safer pesticides.

Obviously if the less the hazard - the less the consequential risk - all other things being equal.

The major breakthrough recently was ROUNDUP BIACTIVE and HILITE - glyphosate based pesticides from Monsanto - which, by the use of safer adjuvants, has allowed the product to be registered with no hazard classification on the label. This means that the risks must be lower for affects on the operator, general public, cats, dogs, etc. Can you reasonably choose a toxic pesticide to use in a public area when such a safe pesticide is available?

Remember that you still must do a COSHH Assessment on this product - a much simpler one admittedly - as it is still looked on a 'substance with comparable risk'.

CONTROL : Are the controls in place, maintained and used

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT : What PPE is required? is it readily available? is it adequate to protect the operator in his circumstances of use? is the operator trained to use it? is it personal? Is there adequate storage facilities? where is it cleaned?

If you have products which no longer have clearance you must get rid of them to an Approved Waste Disposal Contractor This is an expensive operation ( figures of £25.00/ litre are suggested).

Don't cause the problem - keep stock levels to a minimum, buy the amount required, mix the amount required, use up all extras in the tank on suitable crop, use old stock first!

Have you checked your store lately?


All of the above will have to be reconsidered in view of the interpretation of the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012