Safe Use of Rat and Mice Poison

Looking to apply rat and mice poison to keep those pesky pests under control? This rat poison course is perfect for farmers, smallholders, gamekeepers and pest controllers looking to control rats and mice responsibly.

Safe Use of Rat and Mice Poison

(PA R&M)

So, the time has come for you to book a mice and rat poison course. Have you:

  • been to buy some more rat poison recently?
  • discovered you can not buy any or the amount you need, as the law has changed?
  • therefore, a need to complete the safe use of rat and mice poison course? So you can continue to control rats and mice

Rat and mice poison are dangerous products. For you to continue controlling rats and mice as a professional user with poisons, you must hold a certificate of competence. To show that you are a competent professional user who is taking into consideration not only pest control but also keeping the environment safe and protecting non-target species. There have been lots of changes in the last few years on the use of these products. So, if you want to continue using them you are going to have to follow the rules.

Without this certificate of competence, you can not legally apply any rat and mice poison as a professional user.

As a result, the safe use of rat and mice poison is not just about the buying of the products you use. Such as bait blocks, grain, gels. It is about the safe application of these products. To protect not only you but the environment in which you work.

Many of you are already actively using rat and mice poison in your pest control programme. However, you may have discovered that as a professional operator you need a certificate of competence to enable you to carry on doing so.

Our safe use of rat and mice poison course has now gone online. But do not worry we will talk you through everything you need to do. It is a simple and straight forward way to carry out your rat poison course. 
It saves you:
  • travelling time
  • fuel costs
  • an early start if you are not local to the area
  • the worry of being in a group situation 
  • the concern of trying to keep up with others in the group

Once you have booked the course we will send you full course joining instructions. That will contain a link to your candidate portal where you can access the course. You can start the course as soon as you activate the portal link. We will post out all the workbooks and label to you in advance of the course. So you can work through the pack step by step with the trainer, it is as simple as 1,2,3 honestly!

All done from the comfort of your own home or workplace – how amazing is that!

We understand that no one wants to be told that they have to do something different. Especially when they have been doing it for years. Yet, we are sure that you can appreciate how dangerous these products can be if used incorrectly. The consequences involved if something were to go wrong are dreadful.

So, if you are a:

  • pest controller
  • farmer
  • gamekeeper
  • smallholder

Our one-day self-taught safe use of rat and mice poison course for controlling rats and mice provides you with everything that you need for the assessment process and therefore once achieved the ability to buy the products you require.

You may have been asked by:
  • your farm assurance body
  • your employer
  • or a new contract opportunity to demonstrate competence through certification

You could be new to the job or have been doing it for over 40 years and things have changed. If so and you are faced with having to gain your rat and mice poison qualification have you been:

  • struggling to find the right fit in terms of a training provider?
  • confused by all the names, numbers and acronyms for the land based courses that are available to you?
  • worried you will get it wrong or waste your hard-earned money?
  • concerned that it will feel like going back to school?
  • looking to gain a qualification to continue with jobs because legislation has changed?
  • offered a new and exciting contract, but need another ticket/qualification to seal the deal?
Then we can help you!

No matter which sector you are coming from, and your level of experience. We can work with you to understand your training needs. To tailor a programme and provide courses that will be suitable for you.

Providing award-winning training through tailored, flexible, friendly, approachable trainers and assessors.

Finally, as with all Lowe Maintenance courses, you get support and advice via email or on the phone, if you need it in the future. Just because you’ve completed the course doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch if you need more information or guidance.

City and Guilds accreditation

Is the certificate you will gain on successful completion of your safe use of pesticides for vertebrate pest control, rat and mouse assessment. 

A  one-day self-taught course, with the face-to-face assessment held in Settle.

Assessments are held on a one-to-one basis.

On this rat poison course you will be learning about:

  • the risks of using rat and mice poison
  • what you need to do in an emergency
  • which specific health and safety legislation affects you in the use of these products
  • identifying signs and symptoms of pest infestations
  • recognising non-target species and how to protect them
  • monitoring and record-keeping
  • traditional forms of control to use first as part of the risk hierarchy or control
  • industry best practice
  • safely applying the products to protect yourself, the environment and the surrounding area

Don’t worry, you will not be using a live product for the course and assessment, the products are a dummy to ensure everyone’s safety.

Although, you will have to bring your own PPE as you are going to need it once qualified. But don’t worry we provide a thorough list of exactly what you need to bring with you so no hiccups on the day. 

Candidate portal

On booking your course you will be given access to the candidate portal, where you will find lots of leaflets and documentation to read through. There are videos we need you to watch along with the workbook pack sent in the post to work through, to help embed your learning in preparation for your assessment.

This preparation for your assessment will take at least 8 hours to complete, do not leave it to the last minute. Remember you need to have completed all the tasks before attending your assessment. The onus is on you to be ready, it works perfectly, as long as you’ve done everything we ask you to 😊


The safe use rat and mice poison course is all self-taught, you will attend in Settle for a face-to-face assessment, with an independent City and Guilds assessor. 

After you have completed your assessments, access to the video content is removed. 

We may be stating the obvious and it is sad that we have to be saying this as it appears it is not common practice. 

When attending an assessment, you must follow any instructions that are given, for the safety of all involved. 

For further details please see our terms and conditions for courses.


Other courses of interest to you


The law changed in 2015, stating that only professional users of rodenticides can buy poisons and certain pack sizes, for controlling rats and mice.

This affects a wide range of interests including:

  • farming
  • smallholding
  • allotment holding
  • equine establishment
  • horticulture (including grounds maintenance and amenities)
  • industrial
  • railways
  • utilities e.g. sewers

A professional user is anyone who applies a professional product no matter the amount or method used. This includes operators, employees, technicians and self-employed people. Basically, if you are earning from the application, whether that be directly or indirectly (such as farming), you are classed as a professional.

There are a few different options available to people wishing to gain a certificate of competence for safe use of pesticides for vertebrate pest control for rats and mice.

  • City and Guilds
  • RSPH
  • BPCA
  • Killgerm

With Lowe Maintenance you have the choice of a face to face course or an online training method. Both options have a practical assessment that must be attended and achieved to gain City and Guilds certificate of competence.

There are several ways the regulations are policed, the CRRU has a reporting system on their website where any concerns of misspelling, misuse, and misapplication can be reported.

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) will investigate any suspected poisonings of non-target species found.

HSE has overall jurisdiction and will investigate suppliers and users.

If you are caught applying rodenticides without the required certification and someone reports you, HSE will investigate.

Investigations are ongoing to stop this irresponsible behaviour, it is currently being discussed whether or not these cases will be made public to deter other offenders.

The City and Guilds Safe Use of Vertebrate for Pest Control for Rats and Mice qualification enables you to apply rodenticides in any sector (agriculture, horticulture, gamekeeping, industrial). There are no restrictions on the industries to work in. The only restrictions are those on the labels, which you must adhere to.

There is nothing to stop you from buying rodenticides in smaller quantities. Other than that is it far more expensive in the long term and that if you are auditable, under farm assurance programmes etc, it may not fit with their criteria. So it would be a good idea to double-check what you can and can’t do.

To reduce secondary poisoning in non-target species as many anticoagulants, used by people controlling rodents, have a half-life. The HSE need us to use rodenticides with greater care to protect both people, non-target species and the environment.

Join Lowe Maintenance’s newsletter key points of information as they become available are shared or you could regularly check the website where CRRU make information available.

As a professional user you need to keep the following records:

  • stock records
  • application / treatment records
  • COSHH assessment records
  • risk assessments
  • waste transfer notes/disposal records
  • health surveillance and monitoring records
  • training records
  • environmental risk assessments
  • emergency procedures
  • bait box maintenance checks

Lowe Maintenance has two options:

The face to face course is one-day training, with a couple of hours on a second day for the practical assessment.

The online modular course, you learn in your own time and then book a couple of hours required for the practical assessment

Currently, if you are registered with one of the 11 farm assurance programmes there is no requirement to complete the training. However, this is likely to change in the future.

  • AIC’s Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops
  • British Egg Industry Council’s Lion code
  • Duck Assurance Scheme
  • Farm Assured Welsh Livestock
  • Laid in Britain
  • Northern Ireland Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance
  • Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Cereals
  • Quality British Turkey
  • Quality Meat Scotland
  • Red Tractor Farm Assurance
  • Scottish Quality Crops

CRRU is the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use. They have produced a code of practice which is more about changing emphasis than it is about changing practice. Along with the concept of the ‘risk hierarchy’ which needs to be at the forefront when deciding a control strategy for any site.

Currently, as long as you’re within a Farm Assurance programme and you’ve completed the Point of Sale Declaration – Farm Assurance Scheme document and given that, to your supplier, you can continue to buy rodenticides without a ticket.

If you wish to continue buying professionally labelled products in larger pack sizes, then yes you will need to gain a recognised qualification.

Yes, you can go back to traditional control methods such as trapping, shooting, dogs or cats. In fact, under the ‘risk hierarchy,’ traditional methods should be one of your first port of calls in controlling rats and mice.

Half-life is the amount of time it takes for a substance to reduce its concentration by half, in most first-generation anticoagulants it is hours to days. Whereas second-generation anticoagulants can be days to months. The problem is when the predator eats the rodent secondary poisoning of that predator can occur.

First-generation anticoagulants are less acutely toxic and less persistent in animal tissues than second-generation anticoagulants. It may be assumed that they present a lower risk of both primary and secondary poisoning for non-target animals in most situations.

Second-generation anticoagulants are acutely toxic and have long biological half-lives. So, present the greatest risk to non-target animals and the environment.

Permanent baiting shouldn’t be general practice. The problem is that small, wild rodents, such as field mice and voles, also go into permanent bait stations and take the bait. These animals are the prey base of a very wide variety of species of mammals and birds in the UK. This prey base is then exposed to rodenticides and this contamination is passed to our wildlife up the food chain.

For more details see: CRRU Guidance On Permanent Baiting July 2019.

Yes, that would be a great start in sorting out your rodent infestation. Rats do not like changes and open spaces. So, by tidying up, getting rid of rubbish, debris and old equipment along with clearing vegetation around buildings so that natural predators can take the rodents would help tremendously.

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