Key messages

  • Pest control operators must keep certain records for every pesticide application they conduct.
  • It is an offence to fail to keep the prescribed pest control records three years or create false records.
  • It is important to assess and record weather conditions to prevent chemical spray drift.

Pest control operators (PCOs) must keep records for every pesticide application for every job. This is a requirement under r. 69(1) of the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 and s. 108 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (PHW Act).

It is an offence to fail to keep the prescribed records for the prescribed period or create false records.

Pesticides – records to be kept

The PCO that applies the pesticide must record the following details for every pesticide application:

  • the full trade name of the pesticide – for example, ‘Baytex 550 Insecticide Spray 250 mL’
  • the date of the pesticide application
  • the start and finish times of the pesticide application
  • the location of the pesticide application (including street address, if applicable)
  • a description of treated areas
  • the pests treated
  • a description of the amount of pesticide applied
  • the name and licence number of the person applying the pesticide and, if applicable, the name and licence number of the person supervising the application
  • the batch number of the pesticide
  • specific precautions to be observed including the re-entry period
  • the name and address of the person for whom the work was carried out
  • if applied outdoors, the ambient temperature, wind direction and speed at the time of application
  • the method of application (for example, spray or bait)
  • the trading name, address and phone number of the business employing, engaging or owned by the person applying the pesticide
  • the signature of the person completing the record.

All records must be kept at the business address for a minimum of 3 years. They should be accurate, up to date, clear, consistent and in English.

Pesticide application record template

You can download a template of a pesticide application record sheet, and use or adapt for your purposes. If a pest control business already has a record sheet it uses, PCOs must make sure it contains all the sections that are covered by the template, for each pesticide used.

You can also download an example of a completed pesticide application record sheet.

Record keeping – weather conditions and spray drift

Under the PHW Act, it is an offence to cause a nuisance. Nuisances are defined as a state, condition or activity that is, or is liable to be, dangerous to health or noxious, annoying or injurious to personal comfort. The PHW Act requires municipal councils to remedy as far as is reasonably possible all nuisances in its municipality.

Council is required to investigate any notice of a nuisance and either take action to abate nuisances or advise the notifier of any available methods for settling the matter privately.

Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992, a person must not carry out agricultural spraying that:

  • affects or causes injury to:
    • any plants or stock outside the target area
    • any land outside the target area so that growing plants or keeping stock on that land can be reasonably expected to result in the contamination of the stock, or agricultural produce derived from the plants or stock
  • contaminates any stock or agricultural produce outside the target area.

Off-target application of chemical products that creates a hazard that is likely to adversely affect a person’s health or the environment comes within the offence of pollution created by the Environment Protection Act 1970.

WorkSafe Victoria may also become involved if the spray drift incident involves the activities of a workplace that effects the health and safety of employees at that workplace and of others (being persons other than the employer’s employees).

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) investigates reports of alleged misuse of chemical products. DEDJTR also cooperates with the department and Environmental Protection Authority when pursuing alleged incidents involving off-target application of agricultural chemical products.

Spray drift – how to reduce

The department receives a considerable number of complaints from the public with regard to spray drift. Spray drift raises issues with occupational and public health, such as:

  • specific physical health problems
  • drinking water contamination
  • smell and air pollution concerns
  • general uncertainty and anxiety caused by the drift
  • concern about pet animal health
  • environment concerns, such as contamination of water sources, land, plants and animal feed.

Spray and particulate drift include drift of chemical pesticides in granular, powder, dust or spray form. Some chemicals should also be used with caution if they emit vapour drift.

Those at greatest risk of health problems associated with spray drift are the PCOs themselves.

The atomiser and spray settings (such as pressure, flow rate, nozzle spray angle) influence the droplet size of the chemical being sprayed. Producing pesticide droplets smaller than 50–100 µm is not recommended, as these droplets are most likely to evaporate or drift.

You should perform a site risk assessment before starting every job. If you need to apply pesticides outdoors, monitoring wind speed, wind direction and temperature should be a part of the risk assessment procedure.

In place of a wind-measuring instrument, PCOs can use the Beaufort Scale as a guide to assess the suitability of the weather conditions for spraying.

Remember to assess all aspects of the weather (for example, temperature, humidity and wind direction) when deciding if it is safe to spray pesticides.

If you use the Beaufort Scale to estimate the wind force, you should record this. You can present the data like ‘Beaufort Scale: Force 2, light breeze from the NE’.

You should ALWAYS read and follow the pesticide label instructions

and remember:

  • If the environmental conditions change significantly during application, note the time and nature of the changes.
  • Pesticides should not be applied if you notice drift occurring due to wind.
  • If you notice wind blowing toward sensitive areas, postpone pesticide application until the wind stabilises and changes direction.
  • High temperature and low humidity leads to faster evaporation of the spray droplet, increasing chances for drift. Loss of pesticide through evaporation and drift can reduce the effectiveness from that originally calculated.

Beaufort wind scale for pesticide spraying

The Beaufort scale is measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land.

Pest control operators need to be aware of wind conditions, as some conditions are not ideal for spraying pesticides.

Table 1 outlines different wind speeds and their corresponding Beaufort number, and how these conditions relate to pesticide spray application.

Table 1: Beaufort scale and pesticide spraying conditions


Beaufort number

Wind speed

Description

Spray notes

0

<1km/hr

<1 knot

Calm: smoke rises vertically

Avoid fine sprays,

especially on warm, sunny days

1

1–5 km/hr

1–3 knots

Light air: wind direction shown by smoke drift, not wind vanes

2

6–11 km/hr

4–6 knots

Light breeze: wind felt on face, leaves rustle, wind vanes move by wind

Ideal spraying conditions

3

12–19 km/hr

7–10 knots

Gentle breeze: leaves and twigs in constant motion, wind

extends a light flag

4

20–28 km/hr

11–16 knots

Moderate breeze: raises dust and loose paper, small branches move

DO NOT

attempt to apply

pesticides under these conditions

5

29–38 km/hr

17–21 knots

Fresh breeze: small trees sway, crested wavelets form on

inland waters

6

39–49 km/hr

22–27 knots

Strong breeze: large branches move, umbrellas hard to use

7

50–61 km/hr

28–33 knots

Near gale: whole trees move, breaks twigs off trees,

difficulty walking against the wind

8

62–74 km/hr

34–40 knots

Gale: breaks twigs off trees, generally impedes progress

9

75–88 km/hr

41–47 knots

Strong gale: slight structural damage (e.g. chimney pots and roof tiles removed)

10

89–102 km/hr

48–55 knots

Storm: seldom inland, trees uprooted, considerable

structural damage


Contact details

  • Pest Control Program

    Phone hours are: 9 am to 12 pm, Monday to Friday. Direct all other enquiries to the pest control email address. Postal address: GPO Box 4057, Melbourne VIC 3001