Pesticides Training and Certification – An Update

Ian Gowerin Training & Education

Pesticides Training and Certification - An Update

By Ian Gower - Ian Gower Associates Ltd

The new Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Plant Protection Products which replaces the old "Green Code" is due for publication early on the new year. A separate amenity leaflet is to be prepared to assist in the communication of the new Code of Practice to amenity users. This new COP will mean that training and the resultant assessment for the National Proficiency Tests Council certificate of competence will have to be updated. So that trainers and assessors can have access to the new COP to prepare for the new assessment an electronic copy has just been made available for their use.

The launch date for the revised Certificate of Competence in the Safe Use of Pesticides is 1st January 2006. The Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA) accreditation of the current pesticides qualification will expire on 31/3/06. From 31st December 2005 NPTC will cease all sales of the current test schedules and anyone holding a current schedule will be able to register for assessment until 31st March 2006. After 31st March 2006 no further unit or whole qualification registrations of candidates against the "green schedules" or any previous series of pesticides application awards will be valid because the QCA accreditation will have expired. But, NPTC will continue to issue Certificates of Competence against the current test schedules until the end of 2006 for all candidates who have been assessed against those standards providing the qualification or unit was registered before 31st March 2006.

As of 1st January 2006 all PA1 Foundation Module assessments will be a multiple-choice assessment using a computer, but unlike the theory driving test it will not involve a touch-screen. Provisional results will be made available immediately and an invigilator can oversee up 10 candidates at one time, so according to the NPTC test fees may even work out to be cheaper than they are now.

The Pesticides Safety Directorates website ( list changes to the new code and the following may well be of interest to readers.

  • In general, the text has been revised to reflect that the new Code is intended for all professional users of plant protection products, such as those involved in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and amenity situations, rather than just users 'on farms and holdings' as for the current 'Green Code'.

  • As the main (and often only) source of information for users carrying out COSHH and environmental risk assessments is the product label, the section on 'Understanding the product label' has been expanded and updated to reflect the new labelling guidelines.

  • Advice on filling and cleaning application equipment and applying pesticides on hard surfaces has been modified to help users meet the requirements of The Groundwater Regulations 1998 and to reflect the lessons learned from the recent research on surface water contamination.

  • Major changes have been made to part 5 'Disposal' to reflect the new restrictions which will apply to agricultural waste later this year. It will now not be possible to burn or bury waste, including containers.

Apart from changes to the PA1 test as a result of the new COP, the removal of the MEL (Maximum Exposure Limit) and OES (Occupational Exposure Standard) will be replaced by the updated WEL (Workplace Exposure Limits). Reference to WEL will now only be made in relevant modules such as PA9 - Fogging, Misting and Smokes.

In general application modules from PA2 onwards have only changed minimally.

For further information contact NPTC or the Pesticides Safety Directorate.

Ian Gower will be running courses from now onwards to reflect these changes as well as offering the new BASIS POWER certification for Supervisors and Managers of people using pesticides.

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