The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 regulate the sale and use of pesticides, weed and pest killers, growth promoters and the like. They replaced previous legislation and implement a European Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.
In the UK pesticides are approved for use by the Pesticide Safety Directorate, a part of the |Health and Safety Executive. Pesticides or plant protection Products (PPPs) are assessed for safety to the health of the users and any other people in the vicinity, of people who consume crops, to wild animals and to the wider environment. In every case they are approved for specific uses and categorised for general or professional use.
Any adult can purchase and use a PPP approved for general use. Those with professional approval can only be purchased and used by people who are competent to use them. This being demonstrated through a Certificate of Competence (at level 2) obtained as a professional qualification.
Earlier regulations, however, gave Grandfather Rights to people born before 1965 which allowed them to buy and use professional PPPs on their own, or their employer’s land without the need to obtain a Certificate of Competence. The 2012 regulations allow no exemption from the requirement to hold a Certificate of Competence in a clause coming into effect later this month on 26th November.
The regulations also introduced a requirement to have pesticide application equipment, other than knapsack and handheld sprayers, inspected under the National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) before the 26th. The equipment must be inspected again before November 2020 and then at 3 yearly intervals unless it is a granule applicator or a boom sprayer less than 3m wide; these must be inspected every 6 years.
Knapsacks and hand held handheld sprayers should be regularly checked by users against a checklist with details recorded. The NSTS checklist is at http://www.nsts.org.uk/static/assets/downloads/knapsackchecklist.pdf.
Clients who use professional PPPs whether in food production, horticulture, pest control or grounds maintenance should be aware of this change and may need to consider the training needs of their staff. It will become an offence for a person to purchase a PPP unless they hold a suitable professional qualification or can guarantee that the end user holds a relevant Certificate of Competence.
Should you need further advice on this or any other work related health and safety topic call your allocated BusinessSafe Consultant or one of their colleagues on our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2785.