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If relevant regulations and improved training requirements are introduced for agrichemical users as a result of the new Health and Safety at Work Act, it is likely Growsafe will rise to the challenge.
Growsafe provides basic and advanced training in the use of agrichemicals and is run by the New Zealand Agrichemical Trust.
Growsafe chairman Graeme Peters said the Government, as part of the new health and safety requirements, might consider removing the approved handler regime and replacing it with an Australian model that tailored training to suit the need, rather than the present ''one size fits all'' regime.
''We will develop new courses, which will target the client's specific requirements, ie. courses to cover spraying a specific crop, or to provide basic training to workers who might only use agrichemicals very occasionally,'' Mr Peters said.
As an example, Growsafe introduced a half-day course specifically for dairy workers last year.
Specialist agrichemical supplier Agrispray and Equipment Ltd owner and Growsafe trainer Peter Thomson, of Mosgiel, said altering the approved handler certificate requirements would have little impact on Growsafe training and best practice handling of agrichemicals.
''The proposed approved handler changes will mean a higher reliance on the Growsafe certificate and training,'' Mr Thomson said.
''The NZAE Trust is altering their Growsafe courses to have greater relevance to specific industry sectors and depending on what the Wellington bureaucrats decide, the courses might eventually be similar to the Australian model. ''
However, he warned that users who had chosen to renew the approved handler certificate only, might eventually regret not having also renewed their Growsafe certificate at the same time, as long expired certificates would require users to re-attend a full course instead of the short renewal course to meet the requirements.
He said more and more food processing companies were also requiring primary suppliers to have a current Growsafe certificate as part their GAP and quality assurance programmes.
''It is also important for agrichemical users to be aware that when they are spraying they are discharging a contaminant and this activity is governed by the regional Air Plans as required by the Resource Management Act.
''These regional council Air Plans specify Growsafe as a course training requirement/qualification for agrichemical users,'' he said.
- by Yvonne O'Hara