12 December 1997

Fumigant incident prompts warning

FARMERS and growers have been warned by the Health and Safety Executive to pay closer attention to the use of disinfectants.

The warning followed the prosecution of a south Lincs grower, who was fined £4000 plus £1500, costs after an employee entered a mushroom growing shed while fumigation was in progress and suffered ill health due to the inhalation of the fumes.

Allan Spence of the HSE said farmers must make sure they were satisfying their duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations.

He said although the risk depended on the particular disinfectant and the way it was used, the first aim must be to prevent exposure or control risks from hazardous substances.

Farmers could make the job safer by changing the application equipment, locking and marking treated areas if necessary, and reducing the time people were exposed to the chemicals.

Catherine Hughes