Many pesticides are hazardous. Whether theyre fungicides, herbicides, insecticides or rodenticides, their purpose is to kill and discourage insects and animals from destroying crops. Anyone involved in agriculture must therefore store and transport pesticides with care.
One of the laws that govern pesticides is COSHH the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. COSHH obliges agricultural employers to assess and control the dangers of pesticides by working towards three goals: the elimination of exposure to pesticides; the control of such exposure; and monitoring the health of all farm workers who use pesticides.
Eliminating exposure is hard. COSHH recommends that employers investigate whether they can use something other than pesticides. Alternatively, employers should see if they can change the way they work and use pesticides in safer ways. They may be able to replace a powdered pesticide, for example, with a less hazardous liquid equivalent.
Controlling exposure is about following good health and safety practices. An employer should ensure, for instance, that when farm workers come into contact with pesticides theres good ventilation, adequate washing facilities, suitable training in pesticide use, and appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment).
Employers must also monitor the health of anyone using pesticides. This monitoring can range from regular enquiries about health to checking the causes of sickness absence and arranging for blood tests.
Any training about pesticides must include an insistence on reading a products label. Each label has instructions about use. It should also have a DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) or HSE (Health and Safety Executive) number displayed on it. This number is the official seal of approval for the pesticide.
No one should use a cheap pesticide that doesnt have an appropriate label. If in doubt about a pesticide, check the CRD (Chemicals Regulation Directorate) list of approved products.
Pesticides must remain in the supplied containers. Its dangerous to transfer pesticides into any other type of container, no matter how convenient this may be. Storage for pesticide containers must be leak and spillage proof. In other words, if a container does develop a leak, the storage area must be able to contain this safely. All pesticide stores must also be fire-resistant and have secure locks.
As tempting as it may be, nobody should ever transport pesticides on self-propelled equipment or in a tractor cab. Instead, pesticide containers must travel in a locked cabinet on the outside of a vehicle or trailer, or in a vehicle that has a bulkhead between the carrying area and the cab. The containers themselves, as stated above, must have an approved label and be leak-proof.
If for some reason the driver has to leave the vehicle unattended, he or she must lock the vehicle and the cabinet.
For further help, check the Agricultural Information Sheet AIS16 from the HSE. This pamphlet gives detailed advice about storage and transportation of pesticides for farmers and agricultural contractors. Theres also a separate code of practice for storing, transporting and using pesticides safely.
Last Updated on 25 May 2021