Coroner calls for all councils to reassess pesticide storage

pesticide-related death is an issue that local authorities need to be more aware of.

A city council has been requested to make other local authorities and industry aware of a pesticide-related death to prevent similar incidents elsewhere. The call from the South Yorkshire coroner follows an inquest into the death of Sheffield resident Mark Langton, who mistakenly tried to drink decanted paraquat stolen by a parks worker from a city council store (HW, 15 December). A Health & Safety Executive review of the council’s pesticide procedures found them to be adequate in terms of safe storage but they were not robust enough to detect staff theft. Changes mean that only supervisory staff will now hold store keys, and more detailed records of the usage are being kept. District parks officer Melvyn Riley is encouraging other parks departments to look at their chemical storage and usage procedures. He said: “There are still many dangerous chemicals held in parks departments’ chemical storage areas that could be lethal if they got in to the wrong hands.” Riley is urging pesticide users to consider the following: L When was the last time that you carried out a full audit of stored chemicals? L Have you checked that handlers are qualified to use chemicals? L Is refresher training provided for your staff? L How many staff hold keys to chemical stores? L Do you have detailed records of stores and chemical usage? L Are COSHH and product information records up to date? L How are chemical quantities determined before use? L Are checks carried out on site during spraying operations?

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