PA1 Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides

Our PA1 courses run monthly and it is essential for anyone involved in handling and application of pesticides. PA1 is a pre-requisite to other pesticide units.

Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides


The PA1 safe handling and application of pesticides is the first unit that you need to complete to start your spraying journey. 

The PA1 pesticides training is a one-day blended learning online course with a multiple-choice face-to-face exam held in Settle.

When you have completed and passed you can progress onto one of the many application units. Such as PA6a handheld applicators (knapsacks) or PA2a boom sprayers, we do recommend that you book your PA1 and choice of application unit at the same time. 

Without the PA1 foundation unit, you cannot legally apply any pesticides as a professional user. 

The safe use of pesticides training is not just about buying of the products you use such as herbicides (weed killers). But the safe application of these products protects not only you but the environment in which you work. 

Many of you are already actively using pesticides in controlling weeds and pests. 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 PA1 course has now gone online through a blended learning approach. But do not worry we will talk you through everything you need to do. It is a simple and straightforward way to carry out your PA1 pesticide training. 
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

This is a self-taught qualification, once you have booked you will get an email containing a link to your candidate portal. On the portal, you can view and listen to all the course materials in bite-sized chunks on your own schedule. We will post all the workbooks and a copy of a clean pesticide label to you, so you can work through the pack alongside the videos.

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

You will have from your purchase point to the actual course date for the practical application unit (e.g. PA6 or PA2 to complete the learning materials, to ensure you are ready to take the exam.

Please note that the exam must be completed face to face and this will be in Settle, North Yorkshire. You will complete the exam on the same day as the application practical (PA6 or PA2) you have also booked. 

Without this foundation unit, you can not legally apply any pesticides as a professional user.

As a result, the safe use of pesticides training is not just about buying the products you use, such as herbicides (weed killers). 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 pesticides in controlling weeds and pests. However, you may have discovered that as a professional operator you need a certificate of competence. To enable you to carry on doing so.

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 spraying qualifications 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 handling and application of pesticides PA1 assessment. 

A  one-day self-taught course, with the multiple choice exam assessment held in Settle, on the same day as your chosen PA6 or PA2 unit(s).

Assessments are held on a laptop, which will be provided for you. 

On this PA1 foundation unit you will be learning about:

  • your legal responsibilities such as reading the manufacturer’s instructions
  • risks with storing, handling, mixing and calibrating pesticides
  • using and cleaning spraying equipment
  • disposing of chemical waste safely and legally
  •  safe working practices and industry best practice
  • emergency actions
  • health monitoring and record-keeping
  • and much more. . . 
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 handling and application of pesticides PA1 are all self-taught, you will attend in Settle for the multiple choice exam assessment, held on a laptop. 

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

If booked as a solo unit, the assessment will be scheduled within the same month, this is dependent on the assessor’s availability. We would advise getting in touch first to ensure you can make the specific assessment date. 

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



If you think you did your tickets and have lost them, we can check with our assessment centre to see if you’re on the system. Please email us with your name, date of birth and address of the place you lived and when you did the courses.

HSE advise that refreshers are taken every 5 years, however that is entirely up to you. It is recommended because things have changed quite a lot in the last thirty years and if you had an incident one of the first questions you are likely to be asked is when were you last refreshed?

Pesticides is the umbrella term for:

  • herbicides (weed killers)
  • insecticide (insects)
  • fungicides (fungi)
  • molluscicides (slugs and snails)
  • vertebrate control agents (not rodenticides)
  • wood preservatives
  • growth regulators

So, if you use any of these as a professional you require the relevant tickets

No, we can provide all the spraying equipment at no extra cost. That way we know all the equipment isn’t contaminated in case someone has a reaction to a product that was used if you bought your own kit.

In 2015 the law changed, as a result anyone who uses pesticides as a professional must have certificates of competence for the application method they are using.

There is no such thing as grandfather rights to apply pesticides. There is a grandfather right version of the qualification, if you were born before 1964 you could have choosen to do this qualification. It only enables you to apply pesticides on your land though, nowhere else. However it is no longer available it was only open for a certain length of time

The PA1 foundation unit does not allow you to apply the pesticides and this is clearly stated on the certificate you receive. In order to legally apply the pesticides, you need the relevant application units.

There is no law stopping you buying a pesticide product, you may be asked at the point of sale for evidence of your certificate.

You can stock pile as much as you like, but you break the law when you apply the products without certification.

Unfortunately, not, because there are so many ways to apply different products it is not possible to just have one ticket to cover everything.

There are over 50 different application methods available now and you must choose which ones you need, to continue with your work.

Many people choose an air induction / low drift / pre-orifice nozzle as they allow greater control of drift and a more targeted approach. Resulting in a much improved application and control of pests. 

It is not advised to spray on hot days, not if it is above 30 degrees.

You need to be aware that when it is too hot the plants shut down, they protect themselves by not letting liquids in or out. Therefore, there is no point wasting time and money spraying when it is hot.

As long as you have the correct application method and the full suite of tickets (not the grandfather option) then yes you can.

In fact, it’s a good idea as it helps to recoup some of the associated costs, just be aware that your customers will need the relevant records and paperwork from you.

The ideal conditions for spraying are:

  • A cool cloudy day
  • Early morning or late evening when it has cooled down
  • Force 2 wind speed

You learn everything that you need to on the courses, however you could read through the Pesticide Code of Practice and look on the website

My maths is shocking, and I can do the calibrations. You are able to use a calculator and the calibration sheet is a set of boxes, as long as you take your time and practice on the spare sheets we give you, I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

No, you don’t need a ticket to buy pesticides. However, you are breaking the law when you apply the products without a relevant application method.

Handheld equipment does not require an external body to carry out an inspection. As a result ensuring the applicator is fit for use is the responsibility of the trained operator using it. Checks should be carried out on a regular basis and a record kept of its condition and repairs undertaken if any.

For trailed, mounted or self-propelled:

  • Over 3m by 2020 ensure it has been tested within the last 5 years. After 2020 they need to be tested every 3 years.
  • Under 3m they must be tested every 6 years (slug pellet, granular, boom less)

Furthermore we can highly recommend Andrew Walburn 07958 351489 for testing.

Choice of nozzle is recommended on the product label. Therefore it important to spend a few moments reading through the label for the best advice. You do learn more about nozzles on the course.

If you did the City and Guilds tickets and you still have your certificates, then yes, they still stand.

If you did the Agricultural Training Board (ATB) route and you didn’t up grade them to City and Guilds when requested, then unfortunately it is unlikely that you still have the qualification

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