The quieter winter months provide the perfect opportunity for pesticide store maintenance and management. Arable Farming asked independent BASIS examination chairman, Patrick Mitton to share his top tips for ensuring stores are up to standard.
There are a number of important items which should be in the store, besides pesticides.
Mr Mitton advises one item which is often forgotten is an appropriate spill kit.
“I’d recommend including an absorbent material, such as sand, plus a dustpan and brush and sacks to contain the waste,” he says.
“In the same vein, personal protective equipment (PPE) and a first aid kit should be close to hand, and staff should be appropriately trained in how to use these resources.”
To avoid cross contamination in the event of a spill, Mr Mitton advises against storing liquids above granules, but also encourages farmers to ensure shelving is made from non-permeable materials, such as structurally sound metal or plastic, as this will make cleaning easy.
“I’d also always recommend keeping fungicides, herbicides and insecticides separate to help avoid misidentification, especially when in a hurry,” he says.
“It is well known that pesticide stores should be kept frost-free over winter, to avoid chemicals splitting or becoming less effective, so I’d recommend installing a closed-element electric tube heater to help keep the chill off,” says Mr Mitton.
“Install good lighting to ensure labels are easily read and not misunderstood,” he adds.
Red Tractor guidelines require farms to hold two copies of up-to-date pesticide stock records – one in the store, and a duplicate elsewhere, in the office for example.
“The second copy will be an invaluable tool in case of a fire in the store as it will help the emergency services rapidly decide how to tackle the blaze as effectively and safely as possible.”
Mr Mitton adds that, to help avoid fires breaking out or spreading in the first place, flammable products, such as gas canisters or diesel tanks, should be kept a safe distance from the store.
Pesticides go through re-registration with the Chemical Regulation Division (CRD) every 10 years and while product revocations are widely publicised, those which are simply reregistered with a new MAPP number often are not.
“This means outdated products can look exactly the same as current ones at first glance,” says Mr Mitton.
“Therefore, regular stock rotation will mean the oldest products are used up first, to help avoid holding outdated products, as this can result in non-compliance if picked up in an audit.”
To check current and outdated MAPP numbers, visit the HSE website secure.pesticides.gov.uk/pestreg/ProdSearch.asp
All store exteriors should be marked with the general danger warning sign (⚠) and a smoking and naked flames forbidden sign. It is also recommended to display emergency phone numbers in a prominent position.
Mr Mitton adds that in addition to the appropriate signage, the store should be kept locked when not in immediate use and the whole structure, including the door, should be secure and robust to prevent harmful chemicals getting into the wrong hands.
With the ever-important need to protect the environment, stores should have a large enough bund to contain 110% of products stored at full capacity. But those in environmentally sensitive areas should hold 185%.
“Additionally, outdated products and empty containers should be disposed of by a registered
waste contractor to stop any chemical remnants harming the environment or the public,” says Mr Mitton.