Home > Work with Substances > Working With Biocides

Working With Biocides

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Working With Biocides Biocides Workplace

Biocides are used to control or kill the unwanted presence of things such as insects, bacteria, fungi, animals and viruses by either biological or chemical means. If you work with biocides, there are strict control measures in place when it comes to health and safety legislation which you must adhere to which is laid out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Using and Storing Biocides

Before you use any type of biocide, you must ensure that it has been approved for use by the relevant registration authority. Depending on the type of product being used, you might need to check one of two different regulations:

  • The Plant Protection Products Regulations
  • – which controls predominantly pesticides used for plant protection which encompasses both agricultural and garden use
  • The Biocidal Products Regulations
  • - which controls other mainly non-agricultural products such as rodenticides, wood preservatives and disinfectants.

Once you are sure that you are using a licensed product which has been fully regulated, it’s important that you read the label and/or follow any other instructions to the letter. When storing biocides, ensure that the containers which are used are of an appropriate design and size and that you store them in a location which is secure so that any spillage or leakage cannot escape to pollute any waters nearby.

Where a workplace produces a vast amount of biocides, it’s important that there are provisions for a secondary storage device which can contain the total supply of biocides should a leakage occur. For more information about storing biocides, the HSE can offer useful advice. Where leakages or spillages should occur, however, it’s crucial that you inform the Environmental Health Department as soon as possible.

Disposing of Unused Biocides

Once again, your local Environment Health Department will advise you of ways you can dispose of biocides safely and how to wash out any containers afterwards. Further details are also available in the Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products.

Biocides and Your Health

Many biocides products contain chemicals, formaldehyde being just one example and there are other ingredients which can cause skin disorders, respiratory problems and various types of cancer. That's why it’s necessary to follow strict regulations with regards to working with biocides and to things like ensuring that there is adequate ventilation, that workers are given the right protective clothing and that they are trained and fully competent to work in this field.

The two main pieces of legislation which cover this are the Biocidal Products Regulations in the UK (BPR) and Europe also has its own directive of which we are also subject to which is called the European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD).

Many people who work with biocides only begin to suffer symptoms of potential illnesses which may have been caused by the incorrect management of exposure to biocides many years later in life. In order to reduce the risks companies must ensure that they take full responsibility in minimising possible health problems by offering regular medical checks, maintaining equipment, providing protective clothing and suitable ventilation.

If you feel your health is at risk, is being compromised or you feel that you are suffering health problems as a direct consequence of working with biocides, you should contact the HSE for more advice.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kahl Kirton
    Re: Ventilation in the Workplace
    Hi I work in a factory of about 30 people so it is not a massive factory, but we have 7 cnc milling machine and 4 cnc turning…
    26 March 2020
  • Lee
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Hi i work in a warehouse that claims we are essential workers .But is lying and we will lose are jobs if do not…
    24 March 2020
  • Ire
    Re: General Office Safety
    Hi all I looking advice for situation at my work, I reach driver at big company, Last week all trucks been broken so all VOR one got…
    22 March 2020
  • Joe
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    My manager was checking cctv footage of me on the shop floor i was gathering a few things to put to one side to pay for pay day…
    13 March 2020
  • Foodpreppie
    Re: Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate to Make Sandwiches?
    What is the correct room temperature for making up sandwiches please ? I know that they should be…
    10 March 2020
  • Fishy
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Some days i do 9 hours some 10 & some 12..in a busy kitchen in a dementia care home...what are my entitked breaks please?
    6 March 2020
  • Caroline
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    I work a 12hr and told only allowed 30mins thoughout the day 10 mins morning break, 10 mins lunch break and 10mins afternoon…
    1 March 2020
  • None
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    I work in a school very large kitchen and a warehouse I get my supplies, I have been sick since I started there its been 7…
    26 February 2020
  • Pcoop
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Is it ever possible to operate forks whilst not sat in the cab. Is it law that safety device must be in place to prevent this happening.…
    26 February 2020
  • Meeee
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    Hey I am 6 weeks pregnant I work in a printing factory ,the amount of the dust in this place is incredible! Every time I get…
    22 February 2020