PA6a Safe Use and Handling of Pesticides Using a Knapsack and/or Lance to Land

Our PA6a knapsack spraying courses run on a monthly basis in small groups. Please note, the PA1 is a pre-requisite to all the pesticides application units.

Safe Use of a Knapsack and/or Lance to Land


The PA6a knapsack, or handheld lance from a tank such as a 50l tank on the back of an ATV, is one of the many different pesticide application units you can choose to complete.

Remember, the safe use of pesticides 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 particular, herbicides control weed infestations on land you either own or manage. However, knapsack spraying is not about putting a dollop of product in a tank with a bit more for luck. Then waving a lance about in the air, hoping for the best! As such, you may have discovered that as a professional operator you need a certificate of competence. To enable you to carry on doing so.

Without an application unit such as the PA6a knapsack, you cannot legally apply any pesticides as a professional user.

Before being able to move onto an application unit such as the PA6a knapsack or lance. You must first have completed the PA1 Handling and Application of Pesticides, we advise booking both units in the same month, it saves you travelling to Settle twice!

Session one of our PA6a knapsack spraying course has now gone online through blended learning. But do not worry we will talk you through everything you need to do. It is a simple and straightforward way to carry out session one of your PA6a course.

It saves you:
  • travelling time
  • fuel costs
  • an early start if you are not local to the area

Once you have booked and purchased the PA6a 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 the workbook 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 session two, to complete the learning materials, to ensure you are ready to take the practical assessment.

Also, a huge bonus for you is that you get to use our knapsacks and measuring equipment at no extra cost.

Remember before being able to move onto an application unit such as the PA6a. You must have completed the PA1 Handling and Application of Pesticides. 

As a result, we do recommend that you book your PA1 and PA6a at the same time.

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.

All courses are run in small groups. To ensure you have as much time as needed to learn and experience the requirements for the assessments. If you chose to take them. Trainers and assessors are experienced, friendly, and approachable.

As with all Lowe Maintenance courses, you get support and advice via email or on the phone, f 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 knapsack or hand lance PA6a assessment. 


  • half a day at home or work for the online elements
  • half a day in Settle for a practical training session


  • is held on a one-to-one basis, in Settle, by an independent City and Guilds assessor. 

On this knapsack spraying course you will learn about:

Session one is blended online learning (from home or work) covering the theory, through a workbook and access to videos in the candidate portal:
  • types of handheld sprayers
  • nozzle choice and how important the correct nozzle is for the job you are doing
  • environmental risk assessments
  • principles of calibration
  • the difference between an overall treatment and spot spraying
  • dealing with waste and disposal
Session two is a face to face practical session in Settle:
  • carrying out pre-use checks
  • completing an environmental risk assessment
  • marking out the spraying area
  • calibration of your knapsack
  • measuring and filling of the knapsack
  • completing application records

With regard to the PA6a practical assessment, we will try out best to complete it in the afternoon of your practical training day, however, this is dependent on a number of factors, one being daylight. Although we do aim for this we can not guarantee it.

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 practical training session and assessment.

This preparation for your practical training session and assessment will take in the region of 6 hours to complete, do not leave it to the last minute. Remember you need to have completed all the tasks before attending your practical session and 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 of boom sprayer PA6a is a mix of some self-taught elements and a practical training session, which you will attend in Settle. 

On completion of the training, you will be assessed by an independent City and Guilds assessor. 

After you have completed your assessment, 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 a course with us, you must follow any instructions that are given when using any equipment and carrying out tasks, for the safety of all involved. 

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

Other courses of interest to you



In 2015 the law changed, 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.

PA6a is application of a pesticide on land up to 1m from the top of a bank or water body.

PA6aw is application to or near water.

Consequently both are quite different in where you can apply pesticide and one does not allow you to do the other.

To apply pesticides near water you will need Environment Agency approval, an Aquaherb01 will need to be completed and permissions given.

However, to complete the form you need to ensure that the product has aquatic approval and you have the correct application methods for the work you are planning to do.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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, you are breaking the law when you apply the products without a relevant application method.

Handheld equipment doesn’t require an external body to carry out an inspection, 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)

We recommend Andrew Walburn 07958 351489 for testing.

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

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

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