Department of Health

Hefty fines for unlicensed pest controller (Archived content)

Published by Department of Health & Human Services

A Lysterfield man has been prosecuted and fined $19,500 in the Ringwood Magistrates Court for six breaches of Victoria’s pest control laws.

Justin Morgan who provided pest control services in the name of Lilydale/Knox Pest Control was charged with two counts of using pesticides without a licence, two counts of holding himself out as qualified to use pesticides and two counts of failing to comply with a prohibition notice.

He was also ordered by Magistrate Nunzio La Rosa to pay $8,500 in court costs. In sentencing Mr Morgan, Mr La Rosa emphasised the seriousness of the offences and the importance of regulating pest control operators.

Mr Morgan did not appear at the court hearing on Thursday, April 19 or at an earlier hearing in March.

The court heard that on one occasion children were present when pesticide was being applied in a house. Standard safe practice is to ensure no-one other than the pest controller is present when applying pesticides.

Victoria’s acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Michael Ackland, said the successful prosecution reinforces the importance of licensing and training for pest control operators.

“Pest control operators employ a range of chemicals which have a high degree of toxicity,” Dr Ackland said.

“The toxicity of these chemicals, in addition to their use in domestic settings, can cause potential public health risks. That is why operators should be appropriately trained in their use and exercise due diligence in carrying out their work.

“Licensing of pest control operators is designed to protect operators, consumers, members of the public and the environment from the harmful effects of pesticides.

“Substantial quantities of pesticides from a variety of classes of chemicals are used to control pests. Pesticides can have serious health effects if they are used incorrectly.

“The short term effects of contact with pesticides are serious. Young children are more likely to be exposed to contact with pesticides because they spend more time on the ground. Further, because young children have a lower body weight, a relatively small dose of pesticide may harm them.

“Given the potential toxic effects, it is vital for the protection of public health that commercial users of pesticides are adequately trained and have knowledge and skills to apply pesticides safely,” Dr Ackland said.

Reviewed 27 April 2012


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Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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