Pesticide Sprayer Operator Training

Pesticides are hazardous and must be handled responsibly and with care. It is important for the safety of everyone concerned, as well as being a legal requirement, that the people who apply them are properly trained and competent.

When using pesticides operators should be aiming to maximise the benefit whilst minimising the risk to themselves, bystanders and the environment. To make sure this happens, pesticide legislation in the UK regulates not just the products themselves but also the people who handle and use them. All pesticide users must be adequately trained, no matter what their age. The training should give them the same skills needed to obtain a Certificate of Competence.

The law requires that those born after 31 December 1964 who apply professional (agricultural, horticultural, amenity, industrial and forestry) pesticides commercially must hold a certificate of competence. All contractors who apply professional pesticides must hold a certificate of competence. Holders are required to produce on demand their Certificate(s) of Competence for inspection to any person authorised to enforce pesticide legislation.

What training is needed?

In order to gain a Certificate of Competence, spray operators must be able to demonstrate competence and understanding in the following areas:-

  • Legislation and Code of Practice relevant to the use of pesticides.
  • How to read product labels in order to ensure correct use. This includes being able to identify the hazards and risks associated with the use of the product and the necessary precautions to take to minimise them.
  • Identification of the features of application equipment that are designed to minimise operator contamination.
  • Identification and selection of the correct personal protective equipment to use with a particular product.
  • Knowledge of the correct procedures for mixing and spraying pesticides, to protect the public and the environment.
  • How to dispose of surplus diluted product and the empty containers after finishing work.
  • What to do in an emergency and how to get help.
  • What records are required and how long to keep them.
  • Knowledge of the role of health surveillance and health monitoring.
  • Skills appropriate to the safe use of the equipment they normally use

How do I obtain a Certificate of Competence?

All candidates must first complete a Foundation Module (PA1), for which a certificate is not issued, before taking one of the specialist modules (see below).

Candidates must pass a practical assessment (including underpinning knowledge) offered by the National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC).

Because the required spraying skills vary widely among the various types of application work, candidates are assessed under one (or more) modules that are most appropriate for their professional work. Where practical it is possible to take two or more application units back to back.

Certificate holders, who change their work and use different application equipment, may need to obtain a new certificate under a more relevant additional module.

CT&JL Services offer Pesticide Spray Operator training in Cumbria in the following modules:

  • PA1 Foundation Module
  • PA2 Ground Crop Sprayers mounted or trailed
  • PA4 Granule Applicator mounted or trailed
  • PA5 Boat Mounted Applicators
  • PA6 Hand Held Applicators
  • PA9 Fogging, Misting and Smokes

Regular refresher training is recommended to stay up to date with new regulations and the latest thinking on best practice.

National Sprayer Testing Scheme