Emergency Procedures

Nobody sets out to have an accident, but it’s important to always prepare for the worst. Chemical spills can present personal health and safety risks and, of course, cause long-term environmental contamination.

Make an action plan

The code of practice for using plant protection products states: ‘Anyone who uses pesticides professionally must be trained in emergency procedures and must have, and understand, their own action plans. These emergency action plans should be kept up to date to cover new equipment or new ways of working.’

Many product labels will have specific advice on what to do if you are contaminated or there is a spillage or fire. This information is always on the manufacturer’s material safety data sheet (MSDS), which you can get when you buy the product.

It’s vital chemical spills are dealt with quickly and efficiently to avoid risk of injury and possible legal action.

Details of the Emergency Procedures in the code of practice for using plant protection products can be downloaded here.

The Voluntary Initiative’s Emergency Procedures Best Practice Guide includes a useful Emergency Information Sheet, which includes national contact numbers and space for your own local numbers and locations. You can download it here.

Prepare for the worst

A spill kit in the store and carried on the sprayer could help prevent an accident or other spillage turning into a major incident.

Your spill kit should be able to deal with the full range of pesticides likely to be encountered on the farm.

It must be able to cope with all situations. A spill could be a concentrate or dilute liquid. It could also be a powder or granules.

Serious spills that risk water pollution must be immediately reported to the appropriate environmental agency hotline:
England, Scotland and Northern Ireland: 0800 80 70 60 
Natural Resources Wales: 0300 065 3000 

Spill kit contents:

  • PPE – Coverall, face shield, nitrile gloves, overshoes, respirator FFP3 
  • Absorbent materials – paper towels, spill pads, spill socks, granules
  • Drip tray
  • Disposable bags with tape or twist ties
  • Shovel and polypropylene broom
  • Labelled and secure container for waste.

Appropriate PPE

Always wear the appropriate PPE, including a respirator, when clearing up dry spills. Dry spills such as powders and granules will be easier to clean up and, in some cases, may be suitable to be saved and applied as required.

Disposal of any waste materials which have been collected must always be dealt with by a reputable Licenced Waste Disposal Contractor. Always ask for a ‘Waste Transfer Note’ as your proof of legitimate disposal. You can download a copy here

You can also download the full Code of Practice for using Plant Protection Products here.

Rodent control update

Positive changes noted in the recent report from the rodenticide regime’s Government Oversight Group show that more than 23,000 pest control technicians, gamekeepers and farmers have completed approved training courses and become certified as competent users.

There are 17 stewardship-approved farm assurance schemes whose 94,000 members are inspected against standards for rodent pest management that comply with the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) Code of Best Practice.

Nearly 1,300 premises selling stewardship label, professional use only, rodenticides have undergone independent BASIS point-of-sale audits.

Secondary poisoning

During the first two years, even with all stewardship elements in place, there continues to be significant rodenticide residues found in Barn Owls. This is caused by ‘secondary poisoning’, which is when a predator eats a dying rodent that has been poisoned, or a scavenger eats a dead carcase of a poisoned rodent.

Secondary poisoning is the main cause of non-targets being infected by rodenticides.

The report states that government is expecting lasting reductions in rodenticide residues carried by non-target wildlife. Without good evidence of this we can anticipate more restrictions on how rodenticides can be obtained, used and by whom.

Best practice baiting

Remember the preferred order of control

Habitat managementPhysical controlChemical control

The CRRU Code of Best Practice has a seven-point action plan for the safe use of rodenticides:

  • Always have a planned approach
  • Always record the quantity of bait used and where placed
  • Always use enough baiting points
  • Always collect and dispose of rodent bodies
  • Never leave bait exposed to non-target animals and birds
  • Never fail to inspect bait regularly
  • Never leave bait down at the end of the treatment

Following this code will help you to meet your quality assurance audit requirements.

IPM approach

To help reduce the incidents of secondary poisoning in non-targets, it’s recommended farmers should adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach – using a variety of methods to control rodents.

IPM is not difficult. Just as out in the fields, it encourages the use of preventative measures and non-chemical control before resorting to poisons. For rodent control the best IPM approach is to use habitat management and physical methods to prevent the rodents from entering the building and ensuring they have no reason to stay if they do enter.

It is recommended you follow this nine-step IPM approach:

  • Proofing buildings
  • Hygiene 
  • Denial of food and water 
  • Removal of harbourage 
  • Trapping
  • Alphachloralose (anaesthetic – mice only)
  • Gassing (rats only)
  • First Generation anticoagulants (warfarin, chlorophacinone and coumatetralyl).
  • Second Generation anticoagulants (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, difenacoum, flocoumafen.

You have covered Current Issues and Emergency Procedures. There is now an end of Lesson Test, which you will need to pass to access the next lesson. You will need 80% to pass. You can re-sit the test as many times as it takes to pass.

Please ‘mark complete’ to take you to the final lesson and test.