Pesticides Training – Tips and Guidance

Man applying pesticides with back pack sprayer and full safety clothing.

Pesticides versus Herbicide……?

People usually use the term “pesticides” to describe the spraying of any chemical over vegetation.  It is important at the outset to be clear on the difference between Pesticides and Herbicides.  Pesticides are chemical used to control insects, grubs or ‘pests’ which can harm or destroy the vegetation we are trying to nurture.  Herbicides, on the other hand, are chemicals used to control plants or “weeds” that threaten the vegetation we are trying to nurture.

Modern plant protection products, also known as pesticides, help safeguard our food supply by protecting crops against yield losses caused by weeds, diseases and insects.

Pesticides are also widely used outside food production to maintain our recreational, transport and amenity infrastructure.

How do we apply them?

Pesticides and Herbicides can be applied using a wide variety of methods and equipment including:

  • Hydraulic boom sprayer
  • Air-assisted sprayer
  • Pedestrian or walk-over sprayer
  • Knapsack sprayer
  • Application from an aircraft
  • Application from vehicles
  • Ground-based reduced-volume spraying
  • Fogs, mists and smokes in enclosed spaces
  • Fumigants
  • Dusts, granules, pellets and baits
  • Dipping and drenching
  • Seed treatments

Why is Pesticide Training Important?

The above methods each have their own pros and cons in terms of efficiency of application.  Ultimately the aim is to target the pest or plant whilst minimising any effect on the environment and surrounding plants or animals.  This can occur through ‘spray drift’ (wind), crop run off (rain), seepage into soil, leaching into drainage and evaporation.

It is important to be able to select the product and method of application that is most efficient and lowest risk.

It is important also to understand how to dispose of pesticides and herbicides correctly.

Proper training on the use and application of pesticides and herbicides will help to keep you safe but also enable you to apply the chemicals efficiently and with minimum impact on the environment.

Why do I need a Pesticide Ticket?

It is compulsory in many countries for users to be properly trained and certified in the use of pesticides and the requirement is backed by law under specific circumstances.

In the UK, anyone using a professional pesticide must either have a recognised specified certificate (previously known as a ‘Certificate of Competence’) or be working under the direct supervision, for the purposes of training, of someone who has such a certificate.

DEFRA Code of Practice states that everyone who uses pesticides professionally must be trained,  but also in some situations the law requires that users must have an appropriate certificate of competence. The type of certificate needed will depend on the product you are using and your individual circumstances.

What sort of training do I need?

As a starting point we strongly advise that you obtain the ‘Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides (PA1)’ qualification regardless of whether you are required to by law or not – this is because of the points outlined above – ‘Why is it important’

From there we need to consider two things:

  1. HOW are you planning to apply pesticides and herbicides and
  2. WHERE you are planning to apply them.

If you are using Hand Held Applicators – you will require the Level 2 Award in Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (PA6)

  • Unit 151 – Apply Pesticides to Land
  • Unit 153 – Apply Pesticide Pellets or Granules to Land
  • Unit 155 – Installing Pesticide Plugs in Tree Stumps
  • Unit 156 – Operating Hand Held Injection Equipment
  • Unit 157 – Operating Other Hand Held Equipment Requiring Minimal Calibration

If you are going to be operating near water you will need to consider this training:

If you are using large scale or mechanical application methods you will require the Level 2 Award in Safe Application of Pesticides Using Self Propelled, Mounted or Trailed Horizontal Boom Sprayers

Where can I do it? Who should I choose to train me?

Always choose an established company and preferably one that is able to offer facilities for you to train in. There are some companies that don’t have their own site and you can find yourself travelling some distance to get to site each day; this will eat in to your training time.  Be certain that the providers are accredited with appropriate awarding bodies, usually City & Guilds or Lantra Awards for these types of courses. TKF Training ticks all of these boxes!

How long does it take?

Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides is a 1 day course with a 1 hour assessment which occurs on a separate day.  All training is classroom based.

Our most popular event is a combined course for Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides (PA1) plus Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (PA6).

Training takes two days, followed by City & Guilds Assessments on a third day.

What equipment do I need?

You will need a Hand Held Sprayer and PPE, (personal protective equipment) which TKF have available for hire if needed.  All of the TKF Open courses have a hire option for equipment, including an ATV with Boom Sprayer.

Is it hard? (what is our pass rate?)

On average 94% of candidates at TKF pass their pesticide training courses.  So provided you listen carefully to the instructor…you should be fine.

How much does it cost?

Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides (PA1) plus Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (PA6) Unit 151 Apply Pesticides to Land cost is £446.95 inc vat.

Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides (PA1) plus Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (PA6) Unit 151 Apply Pesticides to Land & Unit 152 Apply Pesticides to or Near Water cost is £461.95 inc vat.

How often do I need to do it?

Apart from the legal requirements to obtain a certificate of competence there is no legal requirement to undertake refresher training, however, the Certificate of Competence training and the HSE Code of Practise for using Plant Protection Products emphasises the importance of continuing to develop your technical knowledge and practical skills in using pesticides.

You can register with the National Register of Sprayer Operators and collect points for CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

Most of our clients opt for refresher training every 3 – 5 years.

 

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