BASIS Launch new qualification.
By Laurence Gale MSc
Rob Simpson Managing Director of BASIS launched its New BASIS Qualification POWER at Saltex on the Ian Gower Associates Stand. (L-R Rob Simpson BASIS and Ian Gower of IGA).
POWER - Protection of Water, The Environment and Recommendations, is a new two and half day course aimed at contract specifiers, managers, foremen and supervisors of amenity situations where pesticides are used. It is designed for those specifying which products are to be used and those who have responsibility for pesticide application whilst not actually applying the products themselves.
The courses can be run throughout the UK at a time and a place convenient to the customer.
The POWER Certificate has been put together by BASIS (Registration ) Ltd and NPTC, with help from the NFU for the benefit of industry managers, supervisors and specifiers.
It is evident that managers and supervisors who oversee pesticide application contracts should be trained so they understand the complexities of a pesticide recommendation made by a BASIS qualified adviser.
The syllabus of the course comprises of six modules but candidates will study only five. Modules 1-4 are common to both agriculture and amenity. Candidates will then choose module 5 or 6 depending on their interest or occupation.
- Control of Weeds and Pests
- Recommendations for Pesticide use
- Safe Application of Pesticides
- Protection of Surface and Ground Water
- Environmental Impact and Best Practice Targets for Agriculture
6. Environmental Impact and Best Practice Targets for Amenity.
Aims and objectives of the course.
- To be aware of different weed and pest control methods and techniques.
- To understand how pesticides are regulated and how they work.
- Understand the requirements for different application techniques and where to use them.
- Know the controls to implement water and environmental safety.
- Be capable of assessing risks when pesticides are being used.
- Know the essence of economic and environmental thresholds and other criteria.
- Be able to identify further training needs.
- Know where to obtain more information about pesticides.
A one and half hour examination will be conducted at the end of the training programme and will involve 30 multi choice questions and 6 short questions (6 out of 10).
The short answers allow choice to give relevance to the candidates field of work.
The Pass Mark is 70%
Please contact BASIS or the NPTC for further information.
What is BASIS?
BASIS® is an independent organisation set up at the suggestion of the UK Government in 1978, to establish and assess standards in the pesticide industry relating to storage, transport and competence of staff. It is an industry self-regulated scheme, in line with Government de-regulation policy, giving balanced and independent advice to registered distributors. It does not seek to emulate the role of any Government enforcement agency. BASIS became a registered charity in 1999.
In the 1980's the 'British Agrochemical Standards Inspection Scheme' (BASIS) was one of the worlds first standard setters for pesticide suppliers. In 1992 the company was incorporated and at the same time set up the BASIS Professional Register to help demonstrate the professionalism of advisers. It was decided that, as BASIS was becoming involved in areas of agriculture other than just agrochemicals, (fertiliser with FACTS, Pest Control with PROMPT and more recently environment with BETA and Soil and Water Management) BASIS would no longer use the acronym. Consequently BASIS (Registration) Limited is an independent, self regulatory registration, standards and certification scheme serving the pesticide, fertiliser and allied organisations and interests.
The BASIS Registration Board consists of representatives of all trade associations with pesticide interests such as the Crop Protection Association (CPA), National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC), National Farmers' Union (NFU), Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) and County Council representatives. The Board also has members elected by distributors as well as representatives of both DEFRA and HSE as observers. It is headed by an independent Chairman.
BASIS standards and certification are recognised under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986; the BASIS Storekeeper and Field Sales and Technical Staff certificates are now required, by law, by all those involved in the storage, sale and supply of pesticides. Also managed by BASIS is the Professional Register for sales and advisory personnel employed within the agrochemical and fertiliser industries and the PROMPT® Register for technicians in the Pest Control Industry. In addition, the Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme (FACTS) is run by BASIS on behalf of the fertiliser industry.
BACCS® is the BASIS Advanced Amenity Contractor Certification Scheme managed by BASIS to raise and maintain standards and good practice for contractors operating in the amenity and industries sectors of the pesticide industry.
Under the Regulations, the statutory Code of Practice for Sale and Supply recommends that all companies have an independent annual assessment and names BASIS as an independent inspectorate. The power of the Code of Practice is similar to that of the Highway Code; failure to follow the Code will not in itself render a person liable to proceedings of any kind, but such failure will be admissible in evidence in any proceedings brought under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.
The advantages of BASIS registration
BASIS registration means that:
• distributors can demonstrate to those enforcing the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 that they are taking all reasonable precautions to abide by the law as it relates to storage, transport and competence of staff involved in the UK Crop Protection Industry.
• stores and staff are assessed annually with a report sent direct to the distributor, drawing attention to any shortcomings. This minimises the risk of possible prosecution and subsequent fines and/or prohibition or improvement notices from the enforcement agencies.
• provision of expert advice and regular auditing can help to maintain good management practices and efficiency.
• companies have access to an independent organisation which acts as a co-ordinator and arbitrator between various regulatory and approving authorities;
• distributors can keep abreast of current and pending regulations using BASIS as a source of contact to update, clarify, interpret and advise on legislative matters as they relate to the storage, transport, sale and advice of pesticides;
• by their support distributors ensure that their interests are considered in the running of BASIS.
To the Agrochemical Industry
BASIS registration demonstrates an industry which:
• seriously adopts higher standards thereby ensuring that the requirements of current legislation are met;
• invests its own money in maintaining a self-regulatory body to help it keep abreast of standards;
• Takes very seriously all the implications of environmental issues by voluntarily offering its businesses to annual audits.
BASIS achievements to date
Almost every company distributing pesticides is registered with BASIS. In 2003 this includes:
• Over 400 companies who have registered their pesticide stores with BASIS
• Over 15,000 people who have qualified under the Field Sales and Technical Staff category for crop protection*
• Over 3000 people who have registered to be a member of the BASIS Professional Register and earn CPD points each year
• Many other people who have gained certificates in Seed Treatment, Aquatics, Amenity, Horticulture and Forestry and Nominated Storekeepers
*Some of these qualifications were granted on the basis of the previous experience of staff, all having been scrutinised by BASIS.
BASIS standards have now been adopted by other key organisations such as ADAS, AICC, CPA, County Councils, the Environment Agencies (EA, SEPA, EHS NI), crop based organisations such as British Sugar and farm management companies such as the Velcourt and Sentry Farming groups, farmers, growers, supermarkets and the crop assurance schemes.
When BASIS first began storage assessment in 1979, only 0.5% of stores inspected reached the required standard. Now a consistently high standard is regularly maintained with almost all stores achieving the correct standards.
Many other countries have approached BASIS to discuss the applicability of the UK scheme for their own circumstances. For example, the Australian pesticide industry has adopted the BASIS model.
With one eye on the future and to further professional expertise, BASIS has initiated the Professional Register (as mentioned above).
To be a member of the Register demonstrates that each person is technically qualified in line with Government legislation and that they are updated on an annual basis. To remain on the Register, individuals need to accrue annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.
The industry has an excellent safety record. However, it is not complacent, recognising that one major incident could bring the entire industry into disrepute.
UK Government Endorsement
"…. the Department strongly supports the work of BASIS, the pesticide industry's self-regulatory scheme set up at our behest in 1978. Since then the industry has behaved very responsibly, supported by minimum legislation, this being in line with the deregulatory approach. The Department is well aware of the world-wide recognition and credibility of the scheme and the fact that many other countries are keen to pursue similar initiatives.
The aim of the Deregulatory Strategy is to ensure that pesticide control arrangements provide the necessary assurance of safety through systems which are least burdensome to manufacturers, distributors, and users. Further legislation will be used only as a last resort where, for example, Codes of Conduct are seen to be inadequate. However, we recognise that any self-regulatory system will have people and organisations who will try to test the system, for whatever reason. I wish, therefore, to emphasise that this Department reserves the right to legislate further if this proves necessary in order to maintain standards of safety relating to pesticides, should support for the BASIS scheme be threatened."
Minister responsible for pesticide legislation, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
What Is the NPTC?
NPTC is the largest nationally recognised awarding body within the landbased sector with a history going back to the Young Farmer's Club Movement in the 1930s when the achievement of skill was encouraged through competitions at club, region and county level.
NPTC has been at the forefront of developments for Craftsman awards under the Agricultural Wages Order, statutory and code of practice qualifications for the safe use of pesticides, sheep dipping, chainsaw operation and transport of livestock, required by the Pesticide Safety Directorate, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, DEfRA, the HSE and other government agencies and national bodies
More recently NPTC has been a key supporter of the Voluntary Initiative seeking to reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment through participation in the National Register of Sprayer Operators, the National Sprayer Testing Scheme and other projects within the VI.
NPTC works closely with Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for landbased training and education, to ensure that qualifications are current and reflective of the industry's needs. In addition NPTC is frequently commissioned to develop customer awards for companies, trainers and other organisations that have a very specific training need that can realise added credibility by the rigour and discipline of management through an independent awarding body.