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Weed Control, the Law and your responsibilities

As knowledge of the dangers of chemicals grew during the latter period of the 20th century, so did the legislation covering their use. The HSE began to enforce pesticide safety in 1986 and COSSH was set up in 1988 to protect the health of people in a work environment.

Now, to comply with legislation, a worker weed spraying an area must be trained to do that job, use chemicals safely, not endanger the public and know what ppe to use.

Kevin Millar Bsc (Hons) ICIOB CBIFM, from Hawthorn Estates has had a lot of experience with this legislation. “Weed control is an integral part of our landscape maintenance and cleaning work. This has to be done in full compliance with the law. To that end we not only train and monitor our qualified staff but we give additional training to help our technicians”.

For example, there is a Regulatory Update 42/2011, which was issued by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate division of the Health and Safety Executive on 17th November 2011 that confirmed blanket spraying on hard surfaces would be unlawful.

To comply with the new regulations, application on non-porous, hard surfaces, must be specifically targeted. There is new ‘directions for use’ wording that manufacturers are required to include on product labels. Product labels must be adhered to, with targeted spraying only – making ‘blanket’ spraying unlawful.

The wording continues: Products which act only by contact or systemic action via foliar application:
Herbicides in this category must be targeted to the weeds that are visible and growing at the time of application. Application cannot be made to areas where weeds are not present.

Knowledge of the regulations is essential to avoid possible prosecution.