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31 May 2022

Reporting pest control incidents

Technical | PPC107 June 2022

If you’ve worked in pest control for any amount of time you’ll have come across poor practice or potentially dangerous incidents.

Likewise, established companies can be blighted by a poor technician or two. In the UK, pest management companies aren’t licenced, meaning professionals may be incorrectly identified as unqualified chancers.

Reporting pest control incidents BPCA PPC107

Even the best companies and technicians might be involved in an incident that needs reporting to an authority – accidents happen. We all know the reputational and environmental damage poor practice or an unlucky accident can have on the sector. 

In the UK, there are paths available for the purpose of reporting incidents that occur, be they health and safety related or, the improper use, sale or storage of pesticides. Being aware of how to report correctly will benefit the whole sector.

Health and safety in UK workplaces

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. Its aims are to prevent and investigate work-related death, injury and ill health. 

The most notable legislation that the HSE works with, in terms of these aims, is RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013

RIDDOR puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

RIDDOR lists those that require reporting by an employer, an employee, a self-employed person and/or a member of the public. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Fractures
  • Any loss of consciousness caused by a head injury or asphyxia
  • Over-seven-day incapacitation of a worker
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Occupational dermatitis
  • Any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent.

To make a report, the responsible persons should submit reports under RIDDOR by completing the appropriate online report form.

Incidents that happen in Northern Ireland should be reported to HSE NI under ‘The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997’.

Pesticide misuse in premises

HSE inspectors will normally investigate all pesticide incidents involving ill health where these occur in places such as:

  • Factories
  • Farms
  • Public amenities
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Schools and colleges.

You can report your concern by calling 0300 003 1647 and a call handler will complete the form for you. Further guidance on reporting a concern is available on the HSE website.

Local authority (LA) inspectors are responsible for investigating incidents at other places such as:
 

  • Leisure premises
  • Hotels
  • Shops
  • Restaurants
  • Home gardens.

Details can be found in your telephone directory under ‘Environmental Health’, your council’s website, or you can consult gov.uk

Being aware of how to report incidents correctly will benefit the whole sector.

BPCA Technical team

The environment

If you think that the environment has been polluted then the incident should be reported to the Environment Agency (EA) in England, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), or Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

If contamination happens in Scotland, then you will need to contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

These organisations are responsible for preventing the pollution of watercourses.

Inspectors will investigate reported cases of water pollution caused by pesticides and will take the necessary enforcement action. 

These agencies are usually also responsible for preventing the contamination of land, and have powers to prosecute anyone deliberately or negligently contaminating land. Yes, you heard that right – ignorance is not a defence!

Wildlife

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme makes enquiries into the death or illness of wildlife, pets and beneficial invertebrates that may have resulted from pesticide poisoning. 

The scheme has two objectives:

  1. To provide information to the regulator on hazards to wildlife and companion animals and beneficial invertebrates from pesticides
  2. To enforce the correct use of pesticides, identifying and penalising those who deliberately or recklessly misuse and abuse pesticides.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) runs the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) which investigates the deaths, not just of wildlife, but also of livestock and some pets, where there is evidence that pesticide poisoning may be involved.

If you believe that livestock or pets have been affected or you find the remains of any wildlife that has died in suspicious circumstances, you should report it to WIIS.

Report suspected incidents to 0800 321 600.

Pesticides

Professional use rodenticides

All sellers in the UK should be adhering to the CRRU UK Guidance for Internet Sales of Rodenticides

If you see anyone selling professional rodenticides online that are not meeting the requirements please report using the CRRU Point of Sale Non-Compliance online form.

Amateur use rodenticides

Any sales of amateur use only products above the maximum pack sizes should be reported to the HSE via their online reporting system.

Other pesticides 

If you see anyone selling professional products for amateur use you can report this directly to HSE. The best way to check whether a product is professional use or not is to check the product in CRD’s pesticides database using the products name or MAPP number.

You can make your report at crd.ppp.compliance@hse.gov.uk

BPCA members

Have you made a mistake and need some advice before you report the incident? Nobody is perfect and at BPCA we’re here to help members through the good times and the bad.

Having your trade association on hand for support can be a huge relief. Never think twice about putting your hand up and asking for help!

technical@bpca.org.uk 
01332 294 288

Source: PPC107

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