Pest Controller prosecuted after storing illegal pesticides in unlocked shed… A pest controller in West Norfolk has been prosecuted after storing hazardous pesticides in an unlocked garden shed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with the conservation organisation Natural England have issued a joint alert warning after the pest controller was fined £1,000 for breaching health and safety guidelines.
Workers who commonly use pesticides in carrying out their work duties have been advised that unless they adhere to the laws in storing pesticides safely, then they will be prosecuted.
After Norfolk police offers searched the shed belonging to the pest controller on 9 January 2012 they discovered nine containers of aluminium phosphide which is capable of producing potentially fatal toxic gas. Eight of these containers also had Luxan Talunex which is now illegal in the UK. The pesticides had not been stored in a secure fashion and could be accessed quite easily and there was not even a warning sign on the door of the unlocked shed.
The investigation also determined that some of the containers had been previously used and then resealed which could have caused the lethal gases to be released if they had come into contact with water. The labels on the containers were difficult to read and had become decayed.
The HSE served an enforcement notice on the pest controller to ensure he disposed of the containers and reduced the threat of the hazardous substances he possessed.
Dr. Ed Blane of Natural England’s Wildlife Management commented:
“This case underlines the importance of correctly storing fumigant pesticides and the need to dispose of products which have lost their approval. People have died as a result of unsafe storage and use of fumigant products.
“Anyone who uses or stores these products must be properly trained. There is no excuse for storing such toxic pesticides in the manner found in this case. Products which are no longer approved should be correctly disposed of.”
Elaine Close, a chemical expert at the HSE, added:
“Pesticides are needed to control pests and weeds, but they can also be highly dangerous to people and the environment if used or stored incorrectly. That is why there are strict controls in place over their sale, storage and use.
“It is up to everyone who is involved with pesticides to ensure that they are used safely and effectively, and that they are stored correctly.
“Some products, like aluminium phosphide, require extra special measures to ensure they are stored safely and, once opened, the content of the container should be used up and never resealed or kept for future use.
“It is unacceptable for these potentially-deadly pesticides to be stored in an unlocked garden shed without a warning sign. They should be locked away safely in a suitable cabinet. Otherwise, lives could be put at risk.”