It is vital to always work safely when using pesticides are related products. Nomix promotes and supports best practice in all areas of pesticide use. We are also a proud member of the Amenity Forum, the leading organisation within the UK amenity sector for promoting the safe and environmentally friendly use of pesticides. It has set out 10 golden rules for safe pesticide use.
1. Get trained.
Anyone who uses pesticides, or manages those that do has a legal obligation to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to protect human health and the environment. Users must be competent to apply products safely and should hold a relevant certificate when using professional products. Advisers are also obliged to demonstrate their competence. After 26 November 2015, anyone purchasing a professional product must ensure it will be used by someone who holds an appropriate certificate of competence.
2. Plan your pest, weed and disease control strategies.
It is good practice to only use pesticides where necessary; use of non-chemical methods, or adopting an integrated approach combining pesticide applications with non-chemical controls, may be appropriate and deliver an acceptable degree of control. An advisor may be able to assist with these decisions.
3. Buy pesticides from reputable distributors.
This will minimise the risk of being sold counterfeit products. Good distributors will have trained staff available to advise on the correct, safe and economic use of products.
4. Store pesticides correctly.
Use only authorised products and comply with conditions specified on the product label; these are legal requirements. Similar products can be formulated differently, so it is crucial that users read and understand how the product must be used. It is advisable to have trained and qualified storekeepers to ensure best practice.
5. Maintain application equipment.
It is a legal requirement that certain types of application equipment are tested on a regular basis. All equipment must be regularly calibrated to help ensure that there is no under or over-dosing of pesticides. They should also be set correctly so that applications are confined to the target area.
6. Minimise use.
Using the minimum amount of product necessary to control pests, weeds and diseases makes economic sense. It is also a legal requirement in areas frequented by the public, conservation areas and on certain transport infrastructure and sealed surfaces. All herbicides approved for use on hard surfaces containdirections for use on the product label stating where the product can be applied.
7. Protect workers and the public.
It is a legal requirement to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to protect human health when advising on, storing, or using pesticides. For example, employees must wear suitable protective equipment and may need their health monitoring. Also the product should not be allowed to drift onto neighbouring properties.
8. Protect water.
Legally, all reasonable precautions must be taken to protect the environment, and particular care should be taken to avoid pollution of water. Users should determine whether they are in areas such as surface water safeguard zones or drinking water protected areas. You should also take into account weather conditions; Is the wind blowing at a level that may increase the risk of spray drift? Is it raining or forecast to rain within the next two days at a level which might result in the pesticide draining into watercourses? If spraying is required when these conditions prevail, engineering controls should be in place to give an equal or higher standard of protection. You must also consider surface type. Are you applying to a hard or permeable surface? What is the topography of the area? All such factors are crucial in assessing the risks posed.
9. Check the guidance.
Government and industry bodies provide advice, both in paper form and online, to help ensure pesticides are used safely and sustainably. Advice is also available in person and the relevant bodies can provide information on the availability of suitably qualified staff.
10. Keep records.
It is a legal requirement for distributors and users to keep records of pesticide sales and use. Clear and accurate records play an important role in helping to assess the effectiveness of pesticide applications.
The Amenity Forum has a library of best practice guidance notes covering these and other topics in more detail. These are available at www.amenityforum.co.uk.