16 June 1995

Gap in sheep dip advice from clothing suppliers

By Shelley Wright

and Liz Mason

SOME sheep farmers are receiving little or no advice from suppliers on suitable protective clothing for dipping sheep.

This is despite the Health and Safety Executives instruction that farmers should consult their suppliers on what protection is necessary.

farmers weekly asked sales assistants in some of the biggest farmer co-ops what advice they give on protective clothing for dipping sheep.

Mole Valley Farmers, based in the south-west, offered no help. The shop assistant said: "We dont know what they (sheep dippers) are supposed to have. We havent got a clue."

She added that she was unaware of any clothing with the European CE safety mark. "We sell plastic boiler suits, gloves and face shields but none are specifically for sheep dipping. I dont know exactly what people should have for sheep dipping."

She admitted that when farmers ask for advice on protective clothing "we always get a bit stuck". She said a farmer, who came in last week to buy protective clothing, was shown the waterproof clothing on offer and "I had to guess" which would be suitable.

Kent Woolgrowers offered more advice. Their sales assistant said the co-op offered a range of protective clothing, including gloves. She added that KWG did stock face shields but not in the clothing department, and she admitted that she "wouldnt tend to direct farmers to use them".

Aware of mark

She said she was aware of the CE mark but that KWG did not stock any products with it.

In Wales, the advice varied. In one Clynderwen and Cardigan- shire Farmers branch, apparently no farmer has ever asked for protective clothing. The assistant did, however, know what dippers should wear, but she said that the protective clothing was not sold in the same shop as dips.

Wynnstay and Clwyd Farmers knew exactly what farmers should wear, and stocked a wide range of protective equipment. Neither of the Welsh co-ops were aware of the CE mark.

The most detailed advice came from Lancs-based AF and Lincs co-op CWG. AF sell an entire operator kit. It includes a disposable suit, two pairs of gloves, a mask and a face shield, and retails for £30.

And CWGs sales department said it sold the Kimberley Clark suit already awarded the CE mark. The coveralls cost £12.75. They are sold with additional suitable precautions, including face shields, gloves and heavy duty overtrousers.

are "an effective method of safeguarding the operator while preparing or applying pesticides.