Health and Safety
Guidance on storing pesticides for farmers
and other professional users
HSE information sheet
Agriculture Information Sheet No 16
■ Estimate the likely total of stocks to be held at any
one time – include pesticides such as slug pellets,
This information sheet provides guidance to
rodenticides and wood treatment products.
professional users of pesticides on suitable standards
■ Check if you need to make additional provision for
for storage. By following it, professional users will help
storing any of the special classes of pesticides
to ensure that they meet their duties under relevant
listed at the end of this sheet.
legislation. It contains advice on:
■ Consider the need to store other potentially
harmful chemicals and allow for likely amounts.
■ fixed stores, including purposebuilt stores,
■ Provide adequate storage for rinsed empty
converted existing buildings or parts of existing
containers awaiting disposal.
buildings and smallscale storage in cabinets,
■ Check what other facilities you may need to
provide (eg storage for contaminated equipment,
■ mobile stores providing shortterm storage away
personal protective equipment, washing facilities
from the home base in vehicles, on bowsers and
etc) by reading the code of practice relevant to
your pesticide work (see ‘Further reading’).
■ storing small amounts of particular pesticides
■ Remember that if the store is too small it leaves
whose hazardous chemical properties require
staff working in cramped conditions, often having
additional precautions to be taken.
to move one product to get to another.
It does not cover storing methyl bromide, storing
pesticides by suppliers (which includes contractors
who supply pesticides), nor transporting pesticides
Before creating new storage check with:
from suppliers to the end user. If you carry out any of
these activities you should consult the DEFRA Code of
■ your local authority planning department – you
Practice for suppliers of pesticides to agriculture,
may need planning permission for your store;
horticulture and forestry (the Yellow Code).
■ the Environment Agency (EA) or in Scotland the
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
If you store flammable pesticides such as antifouling
You may be in an ‘environmentally sensitive area’
products, refer to HSE’s guidance booklet The storage
such as a groundwater protection zone or
of flammable liquids in containers.
upstream of water supply catchment areas.
For the purposes of this information sheet
Site your store away from areas that present a risk of
‘professional user’ means anyone who uses pesticides
fire and at least four metres away from:
as part of their business or undertaking, whether as an
employer or selfemployed person.
■ hay, straw, diesel, oils, paints, fertilisers, paper,
wood stacks, gas containers and other
■ domestic dwellings or sources of ignition such as
grain driers or welding/grinding activities.
What are your storage needs?
Check where any contaminated firefighting water will
■ The store needs to be large enough to hold your
■ do not site stores near to drains, watercourses,
peak pesticide requirements, any partused
wells and boreholes or areas liable to flooding.
containers, and able to cope with stock being held
over due to poor weather.
Health and Safety
Help protect against harm to humans, animal health
■ Make sure doors/lids and windows provide
and the environment.
adequate security and are kept locked or
otherwise secure when not in use.
Make sure that:
■ Avoid having a water supply passing through the
■ cabinet stores are not located in domestic
■ The store itself, or the area in which it stands,
dwellings, retail areas, staffrooms, offices or areas
should be roofed.
where human or animal food is stored or
■ access to a pesticide store within a larger building
is not through such areas;
Remember the general principles and note that:
■ all staff know what to do in the event of a chemical
spillage or fire;
■ bunds are best constructed as an integral part of
■ there is ready access for pesticide deliveries or the
the foundations, floor and walls and sunk below
■ where ramps are to be installed for forklift handling
If an incident occurs, contain and absorb any spillage
of pesticides, their slope should be gentle enough
with inert absorbent materials or sand. Dispose of
to avoid destabilising the load (eg < 5° slope).
contaminated material or liquids safely after having
sought advice from EA or SEPA.
Converting existing structures – detached
Make sure your selected building/area meets the
general principles and:
Your aim is to provide a store that is resistant to fire,
capable of retaining leakage/spillage (eg if containers
■ remove combustible materials;
were to melt in a fire), dry, frostfree, adequately
■ create a sealed bund;
ventilated and secure against unauthorised access.
■ seal off internal drains.
Take the following factors into account:
Converting existing structures – stores within
General principles applying to all stores
■ The store, including any doors but not the roof,
Do the same as for detached buildings, plus the
should be made of materials which will resist fire
for 30 minutes or longer.
■ The store, or the area in which the store is
■ where possible access to the store should open
located, should be able to retain leakage or
directly to the outside of the building;
spillage to a volume of 110% of the total quantity
■ cagestyle stores are only acceptable where the
of products likely to be stored (185% if you are in
construction of the store and the building in which
an ‘environmentally sensitive area’). Bunding is the
the store is located meets the general principles,
most usual way of achieving this.
■ The bund should be soundly constructed of non
■ remember that fire often spreads through the roof
fragile materials resistant to permeation by liquids,
space – consider the need for fireresistant walls
eg metal (not foil), concrete, bricks, stone slabs
extending up to the roof.
and concrete products. Rendering or sealing the
building materials may be necessary, especially
Converting existing structures – lorry bodies,
shipping containers etc
■ The bund should comprise, or extend around, the
whole periphery of the store, and should not be
Remember the general principles and:
compromised by, for example, entrances and
exits, or apertures where services enter the store.
■ don’t use lorry bodies with wooden floors or sides;
■ Bunding may be achieved by standing your
■ create bunding by fitting a sill across the doorway or
pesticides within a metal container of sufficient
by tilting the store away from the entrance. Ensure
capacity, eg a redundant water tank. Before
that there are no lowlevel ventilation ducts;
converting any storage tank to form a store or
■ check at regular intervals that walltofloor joints
bund make sure that it is suitable and not
have not deteriorated.
contaminated, and that flammable liquids/gases
Health and Safety
■ If pallets are used to keep stocks off the floor
make sure they don’t present a tripping hazard
Remember the general principles and:
and that the bunding capacity remains adequate.
■ Lag water pipes.
■ note that purposebuilt proprietary cabinets for
■ Provide a brush, shovel, absorbent granules/sand
pesticide storage are available;
and an impermeable container to deal with any
■ check the advice in the ‘Location’ section and
spillages or leaking drums/packages.
make sure your store is robust and properly sited
■ Practice good store management by ensuring that
away from traffic;
waste cardboard packaging is removed, old
■ stand chest freezers with foil or plastic inner liners
stocks are used up, damaged or deteriorating
within a bunded area;
containers are properly disposed of and an upto
■ fit metal cabinets with an internal bund or stand
date stock record is kept (away from the store).
them within a bunded area;
■ Keep an accurate stock record available as well as
■ make all cabinets etc secure or locate them in a
useful telephone numbers, including your local fire
service and EA (in Scotland SEPA).
Organising your store
■ Mark the exterior of the store (and where it is
This guidance applies to storage, normally for less
located within a larger building, the exterior of the
than 24hour periods, in vehicles, bowsers and
building) with the general danger warning sign (see
sprayers stocked from a fixed store.
You should ensure all pesticides are safely transported
to the application site and remain safely stored at the
Never carry pesticides in the cabs of tractors, self
propelled sprayers or other vehicles, and consider the
following key points before you carry concentrated
pesticides to an application site:
■ Use a vehicle with a floortoceiling bulkhead
between the driver/passenger compartment and
■ Put ‘No Smoking’ or ‘Smoking and Naked Flames
the load compartment.
Forbidden’ prohibitory signs (see diagrams) on the
■ Where the vehicle has no bulkhead, fit secure
exterior door of the store.
chemical containers or provide a secure cabinet
mounted on the exterior of the vehicle or on a
■ Check that the loadcarrying area is free of
projections which might damage containers.
■ Mark the loadcarrying area with the general
danger warning sign.
When away from your fixed store, pesticides should
always be secure against unauthorised access:
■ Provide adequate shelving so that products can
■ Park your mobile store away from any location
be seen by staff.
where water pollution could occur.
■ Store powders above liquids (liquids can leak if
■ Try to work within sight of your mobile store –
containers are damaged).
especially in areas where the public may have
■ Provide adequate lighting so that you can read the
■ Lock the cabinet or vehicle when it is unattended.
■ Protect stocks against frost – oil or gas heaters or
electrical equipment with exposed elements are
At the end of the job:
■ Avoid storing plastic containers in direct sunlight –
■ check that lids/caps on any partused products
shade windows if necessary.
are secure before the journey back to the fixed
Health and Safety
■ make sure you take all empty containers,
packaging and other equipment back to your
Code of Practice for suppliers of pesticides to
■ return unused pesticides to your fixed store.
agriculture, horticulture and forestry PB3529 DEFRA
1998 (the Yellow Code)
Additional precautions for special
Code of Practice for using plant protection products
classes of pesticides
PB11090 DEFRA 2006 ISBN 0855211709
Guidance in this section deals only with amounts that
(Both Codes of Practice are available from DEFRA
can be safely stored in cabinets, chests and bins. If
Publications, ADMAIL 6000, London SW1A 2XX
you need to store larger quantities, contact HSE’s
Tel: 08459 556000. They can also be downloaded
Infoline Tel: 0845 345 0055.
from the PSD website: www.pesticides.gov.uk)
The hazardous chemical properties of certain
The storage of flammable liquids in containers HSG51
pesticides mean that extra measures have to be taken
HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1471 9
to store them safely. Check to see if you store any of
Moistureactivated gassing compounds
HSE priced and free publications are available by
People have died as a result of poor storage of these
mail order from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury,
compounds at fixed stores and in transit. In particular,
Suffolk CO10 2WA Tel: 01787 881165
using water to fight a fire can present a significant
Fax: 01787 313995 Website: www.hsebooks.co.uk
danger to the emergency services. In your fixed store,
(HSE priced publications are also available from
provide a separate storage cabinet which should be:
bookshops and free leaflets can be downloaded from
HSE’s website: www.hse.gov.uk.)
■ made of metal or fireresistant materials;
■ located above the level of the store bunding and
For information about health and safety ring
away from direct sunlight and sources of heat;
HSE’s Infoline Tel: 0845 345 0055
■ provided with adequate stability, eg by bolting it to
Fax: 0845 408 9566 Textphone: 0845 408 9577
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to HSE
■ marked ‘Gassing Compound – Do Not Use Water’.
Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park,
Caerphilly CF83 3GG.
During transport, reduce the risk of exposure if an
accident happens by:
This document contains notes on good practice
which are not compulsory but which you may find
■ storing gassing compounds in a separate vapour
helpful in considering what you need to do.
proof container within the load space;
■ providing some means of securing the container in
© Crown copyright This publication may be freely
the load space, eg a frame bolted to the structure
reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or
in which the container can be strapped.
commercial purposes. First published 05/96. Please
acknowledge the source as HSE.
Pesticides marked ‘Oxidising Agent’ – such as
When heated, oxidising agents give off large amounts
of oxygen which can rapidly increase the spread of
fire. Large quantities need a completely separate
store. However, up to 10 kg may be kept in your store
provided that it is kept in a fireresistant, dry container
away from heat sources and other pesticides.
Printed and published by the Health and Safety Executive
Reprinted and redesigned 06/06