The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Crop Protection Association (CPA) are reminding users of the risks of using hand-held spraying equipment whilst driving ATVs and similar vehicles, including quad bikes and mini tractors.
The advice follows HSE's clarification of the Best Practice guidelines on the use of hand-held sprayers; emphasising the requirement for work to be carried out by competent, trained operators and advising drivers not to hold a spraying lance on a moving vehicle because of the risk to the sprayer operator, the public and the environment.
"We're delighted that we've been able to work with the HSE's Agriculture team and Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) in clarifying these best practice guidelines," says Dr Anne Buckenham, CPA's Director of Policy. "Although primarily aimed at the amenity sector, particularly with the application of pesticides on footpaths or on other public areas, they also apply to users of hand-held sprayers in the agriculture and horticulture industries.
"It's about using common sense and adhering to the guidelines. A sprayer operator's main focus should always be on safe and appropriate application; a hand-lance should only be used when the vehicle is stationary and out of gear," advises Dr Buckenham.
The HSE has issued the following statement on the Chemicals Regulation Directorate website giving HSE's view on what constitutes good practice in applying pesticides using a vehicle such as an ATV, quad bike, mini tractor or similar vehicle on footpaths or in other public areas:
• Employers of spraying contractors and sprayer operators have a duty of care to those who may be affected by their application of pesticides. Whether or not a particular method of application can be considered to be safe in terms of operator, public or environmental safety at any point of time needs to be considered in a site specific risk assessment.
• Applications should only be carried out by competent, trained (certificated) operators.
• Drivers/operators should not hold a spraying lance while riding on such a vehicle as two hands are generally needed for safe control, particularly where there is a risk of encountering people, animals, uneven surfaces or obstacles.
• The use of hand-held pesticide application equipment by the driver of a moving vehicle is not appropriate and does not represent good practice in applying pesticides. Hand lances may be attached to or carried on vehicles but should only be used when the vehicle is stationary and not in gear.
• Further guidance can be found in HSE's Agriculture Information Sheet 33 (AIS 33) 'Safe Use of ATVs in Agriculture and Forestry' (see http://hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais33.pdf) and the jointly badged 'Pesticides; Code of practice for using plant protection products' published by Defra in January 2006
(see http://www.pesticides.gov.uk ).