Sunday, 28 June 2015


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Pesticides can be hazardous and special consideration needs to be given to the storage and transport of them. Hazards include:

·       Severe or fatal poisoning from ingestion of the pesticide.
·       Varying toxic effects through the inhalation of the dusts, vapours, mists and aerosols.
·       Varying toxic effects caused by absorption through the skin.
·       Risk of sensitisation or dermatitis through skin contact with pesticide.
·       Eye injuries should the pesticide be splashed into the eyes.
·       Fire and explosion if the dusts, vapours or mists are flammable and are ignited.
·       Fire and explosion caused by heat applied to pesticide container.
·       Pollution of ponds, streams and rivers etc., damage to trees, crops and vegetation and harm to livestock, wild life, game especially birds, bees and fish, as well as to pets; children and other persons in the vicinity.
·       Injury caused by slips, trips or falls due to ground and site conditions or tripping over objects.
·       Muscular Skeletal Disorders caused by incorrect lifting techniques.
·       Contact with moving vehicles during loading and unloading.


Only persons who have been trained or who are under supervised training should operate a pesticide store. Where over 200 kilograms (kg) or 200 litres (ltrs) of pesticide is stored a storekeeper requires training and certification (or a combination of kgs and ltrs totals 200). The industry recognised course is The Nominated Storekeeper Course provided by BASIS Registration Ltd.

The store must be purpose built;
·       Suitably sited with adequate storage capacity;
·       Soundly constructed of fire resistance materials (30 minute fire resistance);
·       Capable of containing spillage and leakage (up to the total capacity plus 10% of the contents stored);
·       Dry and frost free where necessary;
·       Adequate lighting to enable product labels to be read clearly;
·       Suitable ventilated;
·       Suitably signed and secure against theft and vandalism;
·       It is kept locked except when pesticides are being placed in or removed from the store;
·       Equipped and organised to accommodate the intended contents;
·       Maintained and kept clean and tidy;
·       Is not within a staff room, office, human or animal food store or food processing area, a dwelling house or building adjoining and directly accessible from a dwelling house.

 Mark the exterior of the store with the general danger warning. Put “No Smoking” or “Smoking and Naked Flames Forbidden” propitiatory signs on the exterior door of the store. Only products that have a COSHH Assessment may be stored.  Products must be stored in their original container.  A stock rotation programme must be used to ensure the oldest stock is used first.

Segregation of Flammable Products:

Pesticides labelled ‘FLAMMABLE’ (flash point 21-55°C) will be located separately in their own section of the store. Pesticides labelled ‘HIGHLY FLAMMABLE’ (flash point below 21°C) will be located in a store that is separated by a fire resisting cupboard or bin within the store.

For small quantities this can be a fire resisting cupboard or bin within the store. Large quantities should be located in a storeroom formed by suitably partitioning off the areas of the pesticide store to comply with the requirements contained in HSE Guidance.

Wherever pesticides that are flammable are stored, the area will be clearly marked to indicate the flammability of the pesticide using a sign conforming to BS5378 in accordance with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

Movement In and Out of Store

Records of the contents of the chemical store must be available and maintained. Material Safety Data Sheets and COSHH Assessments for the products must be available.

The movement of containers in and out of the store will require care, particularly if it is suspected that the container may have deteriorated or suffered damage. Before containers are moved a check should be made to ensure that they are not leaking and that closures are secure, with manufacturer’s labels and other information intact and legible. People must not eat, drink or smoke whilst they are handling pesticide containers.

If there is a risk of leakage, the contents of the damaged or faulty containers will, if possible, be transferred to a sound identical container which is clearly labelled giving the name of the pesticide, the appropriate hazard information and the precautions to be taken, otherwise the damaged or faulty container will be enclosed in a sound container, clearly marked. Where possible, original labels or labels similar to the original should be used. Any spilt liquids will be immediately contained, soaked up with an absorbent non-combustible material, e.g. sand, and disposed of safely.

Those who transfer the contents of one container to another or who deal with spillages must wear protective clothing; guidance will be available on the manufacturer’s label.

Storage of Empty Containers and Soiled Pesticide Waste

Empty pesticide containers will be triple rinsed and stored in a designated container to await disposal. Pounds for empty containers and solid pesticide waste will be sited under cover in a well ventilated building or inside a roofed, wire fenced structure secured against any entry by children and livestock.

Empty paper packages etc. will be placed in waterproof bags or wrappings and kept within the pound. Where this is not possible, these materials will be held in a separate area of the store set aside for that purpose and will be frequently removed and disposed of properly.


Never carry pesticides in the cabs of tractors, self-propelled sprayers or other vehicles. Use a vehicle with a floor-to-ceiling bulkhead between the driver/passenger compartment and the load compartment. Where the vehicle has no bulkhead, fit secure chemical containers or provide a secure cabinet mounted on the exterior of the vehicle or on a trailer. Check the load carrying area is free of projections which might damage containers. Mark the load carrying area with the general danger warning sign.

Where possible dilution of products should take place at base, as it avoids the alternative of transporting concentrated materials away from safe storage at base, or returning frequently to replenish tanks etc.

Before pesticides are transported, checks will be made to ensure that the containers are not leaking and that closures are secure with manufacturers' labels and other information intact and legible. Material Safety Data Sheets and COSHH Assessments for the products must be carried.

The contents of damaged or faulty containers will, if possible, be transferred to a sound identical container which is clearly labelled giving the name of the pesticide, the appropriate hazard information and the precautions to be taken, otherwise the damaged or faulty container will be enclosed in a sound container, clearly marked. Any spilt liquids will be immediately contained, soaked up with an absorbent non-combustible material, e.g. sand, and disposed of safely. Those who transfer the contents of one container to another or who deal with spillages must wear protective clothing. Contaminated material should be disposed of in the same manner as the product that caused the contamination.

When pesticide containers or other equipment used for carrying pesticides are loaded onto vehicles, care must be taken to prevent containers from falling or otherwise being damaged. Containers should be physically restrained and storage facilities fitted to the equipment utilised.

Paper or cardboard packaging must be protected from bad weather and labels safeguarded.  Suitable PPE applicable to the pesticide(s) being transported must be carried. A spill kit must be carried (with sufficient capacity to deal the quantity being transported. A suitable fire extinguisher is also required.

Storage in vehicles or bowsers must be less than 24 hours.   When away from the fixed store, pesticides should always be secure against unauthorised access. Park the mobile store away from any location where water pollution could occur. Try to work within sight of the mobile store - especially in areas where the public may have access. Lock the cabinet or vehicle when it is unattended.

During Transportation

Drivers of vehicles must be instructed to know how to deal with an emergency e.g. a trailer overturning, including where this could lead to contamination of water (bridges or tunnels, rather than fords, should be used where possible, to safeguard water). 

If spillage does occur and there is the possibility of a risk to people, animals or the environment, prompt action must be taken to limit the effect of any spillage and to warn others, who may be affected, including the Environment Agency. 

If a fire breaks out it will be necessary to alert the emergency services (police and fire brigade) and provide relevant information about the nature and quantity of the pesticide involved. Wherever possible, water should not be used to extinguish pesticide fires.

Monday, 22 June 2015


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When digging the hole into which the plant will be placed, always ensure that the diameter or width is greater than the root spread of each tree. The sides and bottom of each pit should be loosened with a fork to break up any compaction and to help root penetration.

When planting bare root trees:
  • The supports (canes or stakes) must be driven firmly into the base of the planting pit before planting. By so doing, damage to the tree roots is eliminated
  • The stake must be positioned so that the tree can be centred within the tree pit
  • The tree should be placed on the side of the stake away from the prevailing wind.
  • The roots of the plant should be spread evenly on the soil at the bottom of the hole.

Before returning the backfill ensure the tree is held at a depth so that the point between the roots and the stem (the nursery mark) is level with the surrounding surface of the hole. Planting at too shallow a level exposes roots which will dry out, and planting too deeply can smother and kill the plant.

When returning the backfill material over the roots, the plant should be shaken lightly to allow the backfill to mix freely with the roots. The backfill should then be returned to the pit a little at a time and each layer gently firmed until the planting area is level with the surrounding surface. The soil around the tree must be firmed to eliminate any air pockets or uneven compaction and to keep the plant stable in the ground.

Monday, 15 June 2015


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A place is at 'height' if a person could be injured falling from it, even if it is at or below ground level. Remember you don’t have to be working very high up to suffer a serious fall, recent incidents reported to the HSE included one fatality and numerous serious injuries due to falls of 2 meters or less.

A third of all reported fall from height incidents involve ladders and stepladders, on average this accounts for 14 deaths and 1200 major injuries to workers each year. Many of these injuries are caused by inappropriate or incorrect use of the equipment. 

The main hazards associated with steps and ladders are;

  • Side loading (occurs when the user pushes against an adjacent work surface causing the steps of ladder to move in the opposite direction).
  • Over reaching (causing the steps or ladder to move suddenly and the operative to fall).
  • Ladder base slipping (occurs when the ladder is not secured at the base and slips outwards).
  • Unsuitable ground surface (soft, slippery, voids or holes.
  • Operative making contact with an overhead structure (whilst climbing the ladder the operatives head or body strikes part of the structure being worked on resulting in a fall.
  • Ladder making contact with an overhead power supply (can occur whilst being moved into position or whilst being carried across a yard in an upright position).
  • Not maintaining 3 points of contact (operative standing on steps or ladders and using both hands to work).
Mobile Work Platforms & Scaffolds

Mobile access towers are widely used and can provide an effective and safe means of gaining access to work at height. However, inappropriate erection and misuse of towers are the cause of numerous accidents each year. Aluminum and thin wall steel towers are light and can easily overturn if used incorrectly. Towers rely on all parts being in place to ensure adequate strength, and can easily collapse if sections are left out.
Hazards associated with mobile work platforms & scaffolds can include, manual handling injuries, falls from height, contact injuries, contact with overhead obstructions or power cables, uneven or soft ground causing the equipment to topple, failure to use out riggers, underground voids or holes, weather conditions.

Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs)

MEWPs are probably the best choice for undertaking work at height; they are often used when height or access restrictions prevent the use of mobile and access towers. MEWPs are a work platform that can be extended to various heights by use of a hydraulic boom, and are normally controlled by the operator’s position within the MEWPs basket. To use a MEWP your must have specific training and hold a valid certificate to do so. There are basically 3 types of MEWP, vehicle mounted, self propelled and trailer mounted.

Hazards associated with the use of MEWPs can include, collapsing, sudden mechanical failure, poor maintenance schedule, contact with a fixed structure, overturning or toppling, use on uneven, wet, soft ground, failure to use out riggers, over extending boom at wrong angle, overloading of basket, push up against a structure, contact with a structure, MEWP struck by vehicle, basket struck by load, loading or unloading the MEWP, high wind conditions, underground voids, operator falling from the basket.

Check all equipment used in work at height must be regularly. Steps, Ladders & scaffolds should be inspected at least 3 to 6 monthly depending on the environment in which they are used  The more frequent the equipment is used the more frequent the inspection will need to be. Mobile Work Platforms & Scaffolds require a specific inspection and maintenance regime.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


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The aim for a successful cricket pitch is to maintain a pest, weed and disease free playing surface that allows a true playing surface that has no bounce nor deviation of the ball.

Cricket pitch maintenance is made up of three parts; the wicket, the square and the outfield. The cricket table requires fine turf maintenance and is used to support the wickets. The table is often slightly raised to allow free draining of area and should be kept free of all weed and undesirable grasses so that only fine grasses remain in the sward.

Wickets are mown in the cricket table to allow play.  The grass wickets are mown very short into the square and it is the roots of the grass that holds the soil together.

The outfield should provide an even gradient with no undulations or potholes, so that the ball will run true and evenly.  The density and length of the grass should not prevent the ball travelling at a fast pace over the turf and the outfield should be kept clear of disease and pests, where possible.

The cricket playing season is from April to September, with the off-season being between October and February.

The Table

Keep the Table free of morning dew, worm casts and other such debris by switching the table.  Box mow the grass with a pedestrian operated cylinder mower (with no less than ten blades per cutting reel) and collect the arisings.  The direction of the cut shall be changed by rotating 45o clockwise after each mowing operation. Do not carry out any operations during periods of frost.  

Maintain the Table at a height of between 10 mm and 20 mm.  By the second week of April, gradually reduce the height of the cut to 10mm. During the playing season (April to September) maintain the grass to a height of between 10 mm and 15 mm, and  to a height of between 20 mm to 25 mm during the off-season October to February. Keep the Table is kept free of weeds, both perennial and annual, and moss by both chemical and cultural operations.

'Square' the Table during April with corner pegs.  Roll the square in all directions to achieve a firm, true and safe surface with a ride on motorised roller, weighing between 2 and 3 tonnes.

Throughout March and April carry out scarification operations to remove all thatch, fibre moss and other deleterious materials.  Apply a Spring/Summer fine turf fertiliser in March and April at the rate of 35gm per square metre and having an N:P:K ratio of approximately 14:2:4.  Do not apply the fertiliser in windy conditions or in periods of drought.  Application should preferably be made when rainfall is imminent, to prevent scorching to the sward.  Irrigate the Table must be irrigated after application to a depth of 50mm. At regular intervals during the playing season, irrigate the Table. 

Cricket Outfield

In addition ensure that the cricket outfields are cut once per week and that these regular cuts are carried out at a maximum height of 20 mm during the playing season and between 25 mm and 35 mm off season.

Aerate the outfield in March, April, October, November, December, January and February using slit tines penetrating to a minimum depth of 100mm. Carry out weed control to ensure the outfield is 95% weed free at all times.

During the first week in April, identify and set out the boundary at a distance from the centre of the Table. Mark the boundary line with non-toxic whiting compound, the width of the line should not exceed 25mm.  The boundary line shall be regularly overmarked during the playing season.


Prior to a match carry out an inspection of the square and clearance of all litter debris and other deleterious matter.  Ensure all cut pitch areas are neat and straight edges to the surrounding Table. Cut the pitch with a 20" pedestrian cylinder mower to the height of 5 mm.  The pitch should be double mown along the first cut to avoid a striped effect. Following completion of the mowing scarify the pitch along the line of play using a boxed scarifier, ensuring that all arisings are removed. Roll the pitch to create a firm true surface.

End of season repairs (October)

Aerate the pitch and fork all hollows, ensuring no disturbance to the pitch base more than 50mm deep and reinstate to the correct levels with a sterilised medium cricket loam.  Ensure consolidation of levels by light pressure and luting to provide a seed bed. 

Sow an approved cricket grass seed mix at a rate of 50 grams/square metre.  Water regularly to ensure establishment. 

After the aeration and over seeding operations detailed above have been carried out, apply a topdressing to the Table in order to improve the soil structure, extend the playing life of the sward and produce a uniform playing surface.  Use Screened Mendip Loam topdressing applied at the rate of 3kg per square metre when solid tined to 75mm.  An even spread of the material should be achieved.  Immediately after spreading the material, work the topdressing into the surface of the Table using a drag mat, lute or drag brush working in transverse directions with all holes filled with the dressing and achieving a true playing surface.

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