Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
Timber Industry Pesticide Working Group (TIPWG)
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Pesticide Legislation

International Legislation

The Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty that protects human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment.

Exposure to POPs can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Given their long range transport, no one government acting alone can protect its citizens or its environment from POPs, making this is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative.

Rotterdam Convention

Formally the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, this is a multilateral treaty to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals. The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labeling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans.

Signatory nations can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply.

The International Labour Organisation

The ILO is a United Nations agency promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, bringing together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member states, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

LINK: ILO guide to safety and health in the use of agrochemicals
LINK: ILO safety in the use of chemicals at work

UN Globally Harmonised System

LINK: GHS Purple Book 2021 (9th Revision)

“UN Globally Harmonized System” or “GHS” means the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals, a guidance document developed by the United Nations for standardising and harmonising the classification and labelling of chemicals globally, as may be updated from time to time, commonly known as the UN Purple Book.

Chemicals, through the different steps from their production to their handling, transport and use, are a real danger for human health and the environment. People of all ages, from children to the elderly, using many different languages and alphabets, belonging to various social conditions, including illiterates, are daily confronted with dangerous products (chemicals, pesticides, etc.).

To face this danger – given the reality of the extensive global trade in chemicals and the need to develop national programmes to ensure their safe use, transport and disposal – it was recognized that an internationally harmonized approach to classification and labelling would provide the foundation for such programmes. Once countries have consistent and appropriate information on the chemicals they import or produce in their own countries, the infrastructure
to control chemical exposures and protect people and the environment can be established comprehensively.

The new system, called “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)”, addresses the classification of chemicals by hazard type and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at ensuring that information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals is available to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of these
chemicals. The GHS also provides a basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at the national, regional and global level, an important factor for trade facilitation.

While governments, regional institutions and international organizations, are the primary audiences for the GHS, it also
contains sufficient context and guidance for those in the industry who will ultimately be implementing the requirements which have been adopted.

The first edition of the GHS, which was intended to serve as the initial basis for the global implementation of the system, was adopted in December 2002 and published in 2003. Since then, the GHS gets updated, revised and improved every two years as the need arises and experience is gained in its implementation.

Basel Convention

The Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations and, specifically, to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). The convention is also intended to minimise the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.

Fertiliser, Farm Feed, Agricultural Remedies & Stock Remedies Act (No. 36 of 1947)

LINK: Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies & Stock Remedies Act (No. 36 of 1947)

To provide for the appointment of a Registrar for the registration of fertilizers, farm feeds, agricultural remedies, stock remedies, sterilizing plants and pest control operators; to regulate or prohibit the importation, sale, acquisition, disposal or use of fertilizers, farm feeds, agricultural remedies and stock remedies; to provide for the designation of technical advisers and analysts; and to provide for matters incidental there to.

Key points that the act is responsible for include:

  • Evaluating and registering fertilizers, animal feeds, pesticides and stock remedies for use in South Africa, having satisfied itself that such products are efficacious, and safe for humans, animals, crops and the environment;
  • Assessing the competency and registration of pest control operators (PCO);
  • Assessing the suitability and registration of sterilizing plants;
  • Monitoring compliance with legislation.
Occupational Health & Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993)

LINK: Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993

To provide for the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery; the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work; to establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

National Water Act (No. 3 of 1998)

LINK: National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998)

The South African Government is responsible for the equitable allocation and use of the scarce and unevenly distributed water resources of the nation. The aim of water resource management is to ensure the sustainable use of water through the protection of the quality of water resources for the benefit of all water users. There is a need for the integrated management of all aspects of water resources and the delegation of management functions to a regional or catchment level where appropriate, to enable everyone to participate.


National Veld and Forest Fire Act. Act No. 101 of 1998

LINK: National Veld and Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998

The purpose of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act, Act No. 101 of 1998, as amended by the National Fire Laws Amendment Act, is to prevent and combat veld, forest and mountain fires throughout South Africa. The Act applies to the open countryside beyond the urban limit and puts in place a range of requirements.

Key points that the directive is responsible for:

  • Regulates the establishment, registration, duties and functioning of fire protection associations. These associations must deal with all aspects of veld fire prevention and fire fighting;
  • Provides for the prevention of veldfires through a fire danger rating system;
  • Places a duty on owners to prepare and maintain firebreaks. The procedure in this regard and the role of adjoining owners and the fire protection association are dealt with;
  • Places a duty on all owners to acquire equipment and have available personnel to fight fires; and
  • Sets out the relevant offences in terms of the Act and the penalties applicable.
National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998)

LINK: National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998)

LINK: National Environmental Mananagement Biodiveristy Act (No. 10 of 2004)

LINK: National Environmental Management Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008)

To provide for co-operative, environmental governance by establishing principles for decision-making on matters affecting the environment, institutions that will promote co-operative governance and procedures for coordinating environmental functions exercised by organs of state; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Key points that the act is responsible for include:

  • Developing a framework for integrating good environmental management into all development activities;
  • Promoting certainty with regard to decision-making by organs of state on matters affecting the environment;
  • Establishing principles guiding the exercise of functions affecting the environment;
  • Ensuring that organs of state maintain the principles guiding the exercise of functions affecting the environment;
  • Establishing procedures and institutions to facilitate and promote co-operative government and intergovernmental relations;
  • Establishing procedures and institutions to facilitate and promote public participation in environmental governance;
  • Enforcing by the State and that the law should facilitate the enforcement of environmental laws by civil society.

Extensions of this act applicable to pesticide usage:

National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (No. 10 of 2004)

To provide for the management and conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity within the framework of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998); the protection of species and ecosystems that warrant national protection; the sustainable use of indigenous biological resources; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bio-prospecting involving indigenous biological resources; the establishment and functions of a South African National Biodiversity Institute; and for matters connected therewith.

National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008)

To reform the law regulating waste management in order to protect health and the environment by providing reasonable measures for the prevention of pollution and ecological degradation and for securing ecologically sustainable development; to provide for institutional arrangements and planning matters; to provide for national norms and standards for regulating the management of waste by all spheres of government; to provide for specific waste management measures; to provide for the licensing and control of waste management activities; to provide for the remediation of contaminated land; to provide for the national waste information system; to provide for compliance and enforcement; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Disaster Management Act (No. 57 of 2002)

LINK: Disaster Management Act (No. 57 of 2002)

To provide an integrated and coordinated disaster management policy that focuses on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, mitigating the severity of disasters, emergency preparedness, rapid and effective response to disasters and post-disaster recovery. The act also ensures the establishment of national, provincial and municipal disaster management centres and disaster management volunteers.

Disaster is defined as a progressive or sudden, widespread or localised, natural or human-caused occurrence which causes or threatens to cause:

  • Death or disease;
  • Damage to property, infrastructure or the environment;
  • Significant disruption to the life of a community;
  • Or is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using their own resources.


Hazardous Substances Act (No. 15 of 1973)

LINK:  Hazardous Substances Act (No. 15 of 1973)

Hazardous Substances Act is probably the most important chemical regulation in South Africa. It controls the production, import, use, handling and disposal of hazardous substances. Under the Act, hazardous substances are defined as substances that are toxic, corrosive, irritant, strongly sensitizing, flammable and pressure generating under certain circumstances and may injure, cause ill-health or even death in humans.

Hazardous substances are classified into 4 groups )see below). Anyone who intends to sell or distribute group 1 hazardous substances must apply for a license from health authority first.:

  • Group I: industrial chemicals (IA) and pesticides (IB)
  • Group II: nine classes of wastes excluding Class 1: explosives and Class 7: radioactive substances
  • Group III: electronic products and group
  • Group IV: radioactive substances
South African National Standard SANS 10206 - 2020 Ed.3.00: The handling, storage and disposal of pesticides

South African National Standards 10206-2020 Ed 3.00: The handling, storage and disposal of pesticides

Although strict safety measures apply in factories where pesticides are manufactured and formulated, members of the public, in general, should be made aware of the measures to be taken to ensure that their actions, whether out of ignorance or out of inconsiderateness, do not result in harm to themselves, others, or the environment. The various risks associated with the handling of pesticides have been the subject of many discussions and publications. Pollution of the environment has recently become a very sensitive issue, publicity of which often incites the public against the use of all pesticides.

Pesticides, whether used in public health, in agriculture or animal husbandry, are used to the benefit of man. The public should be reassured that, if pesticides are used following the instructions on the label and if the warnings on the label are heeded, contamination of the environment and the possibility of poisoning can be avoided. The prevention of poisoning is easier than its treatment. This standard aims to supply general guidelines to all users of pesticides on how to minimize the risks involved when pesticides are handled. All users of pesticides should nevertheless be knowledgeable about basic first-aid measures in case of suspected poisoning.

This standard specifies the procedures and requirements for the handling, storage and disposal of pesticides by farmers, pest control operators, distributors, manufacturers, formulators and packers to ensure the least risk to health and safety, and to property and the environment. First-aid actions to be taken in the case of an incident, and firefighting procedures, are also covered.

South African National Standard SANS 10234: The Globally Harmonised System (GHS)rmonised

South African National Standards 10234: Globally Harmonized System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS)

The use of chemical products to enhance and improve life is a widespread practice worldwide. But alongside the benefits of these products, there is also potential for adverse effects to people or the environment. Given the reality of the extensive global trade in chemicals, it was internationally recognized that a globally harmonized approach to the classification, labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for chemicals was imperative.

This standard covers the harmonized criteria for the classification of hazardous substances and mixtures for the safe use at the workplace and in the home, including during transportation and disposal. This is in accordance to their health, environmental and physical hazards, for example, acute toxicity and flammability. It also gives the harmonized communication elements for labelling and safety data sheets.

The GHS covers all hazardous chemicals. The mode of application of the hazard communication ingredients, for example labels and safety data sheets, may vary by product category or stage in the life cycle. Target audiences for the GHS include consumers, employers and workers using and handling chemicals in the workplace, workers in the transport sector and emergency responders.

South African National Standard SANS 1186/1 - 2015 Ed.3.07: Symbolic Safety Signs Part One - Standard Signs and General Requirements

South African National Standards 1186/1 – 2015 Ed 3.07: Symbolic Safety Signs Part One: Standard Signs and General Requirements.

SANS 1186 specifies requirements for standard ordinary (non-reflective) symbolic safety signs, including signs on vinyl sheets (decals). This part of SANS 1186 also specifies general requirements applicable to self-luminous (radioluminescent), internally illuminated, retro-reflective and photoluminescent symbolic safety signs (complete with their backing sheets, where applicable). This standard does not cover road signs.

South African National Standard SANS 10118 - 2011: The Aerial Application of Pesticides

South African National Standards 10118-2011 Ed.3.10: The aerial application of pesticides

This standard covers the aerial application of pesticides and the requirements for:

  1. The training of agricultural pilots
  2. Aircraft to be used for the application
  3. Landing places
  4. Protection of pilots and ground personnel
  5. Health precautions for pilots and ground personnel
  6. The registration holder of the pesticide,
  7. The chemical distributor, the sponsor, and aerial application companies
  8. First-aid treatment in cases of suspected poisoning.
South African National Standard SANS 10231-2019 Ed 4.02: Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road

South African National Standard SANS 10231-2019 Ed 4.02: Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road

This standard establishes rules and procedures for the safe operation and handling of all road vehicles that are used for the transport of dangerous goods in accordance with the load constraints. The procedures include requirements for the consignor, the consignee, the operator, the driver and the qualified person as well as en-route procedures, cargo handling and vehicle inspection requirements.

The standard covers the following operations for the transport of dangerous goods by road:

  • Loading of the dangerous goods, which is the responsibility of the consignor;
  • Driving of the vehicle that transports the dangerous goods to its destination, which is the responsibility of the operator and the driver; and
  • Off-loading of the dangerous goods, which is the responsibility of the consignee

NOTE: Supervision of the loading, transportation and offloading of dangerous goods should be in accordance with the relevant national legislation (see foreword). A record of all appointees or assignees in terms of the above should be recorded and acceptance confirmed. The requirements in the relevant national legislation on explosives and in the relevant national legislation on radioactive material (see foreword), take precedence over the requirements of this standard.

Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)

LINK: FSC Pesticides Policy

LINK: FSC Pesticides Policy

The mission of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is to ‘promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests’.

To this end the body has published a global strategy with five goals:

  • Advance globally responsible forest management
  • Ensure equitable access to the benefits of FSC systems
  • Ensure integrity, credibility and transparency of the FSC system
  • Create business value for products from FSC certified forests
  • Strengthen the global network to deliver on the above goals

These goals are being promoted by activities, which are managed and developed, through six programme areas: forests, chain of custody, social policy, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and ecosystem services.

It claims that forests, managed to its standards, offer benefits to both local and wider communities and these are said to include cleaner air and water, and a contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change. Directly or indirectly, FSC addresses issues such as illegal logging, deforestation and global warming and some reports indicate positive effects on economic development, environmental conservation, poverty alleviation and social and political empowerment.

The display of the FSC logo signifies that the product comes from responsible sources — environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable. The FSC label is used on a wide range of timber and non-timber products, from paper, books and furniture, to medicine and jewellery, and aims to give consumers the option of supporting responsible forestry.

FSC® Pesticides Policy

A key element of the FSC Pesticides Policy is the identification and avoidance of highly hazardous pesticides in FSC certified forests. The listing of a pesticide as ‘highly hazardous’ does not mean that the pesticide cannot be used, but in order to reduce the risk of negative environmental or human health impacts, these pesticides must be avoided and only used in FSC certified forests if there is no viable

Under this definition, to achieve sustainability, forest management practices must result in outcomes that are economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just. These three pillars cannot be divided, compartmentalized, or addressed individually. They are a unified whole. Without all three, forests cannot be protected, family foresters cannot thrive, forest-dependent communities cannot exist, illegal logging will not be abated, and carbon emissions will not be mitigated. FSC policy in relation to the use of pesticides in FSC-certified forests and plantations aims to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts of pesticide use while promoting economically viable management.

Forest owners and managers wishing to use highly hazardous pesticides must justify such use through an IPM process which includes an environmental and social risk assessment (ESRA). FSC policy concerning the use of pesticides in FSC-certified forests and plantations aims to minimize the negative environmental and social impacts of pesticide use while promoting economically viable management.

Key Points for implementing these requirements:

  • Identification and avoidance of ‘highly hazardous’ pesticides;
  • Promotion of ‘non-chemical’ methods of pest management as an element of an integrated pest management strategy;
  • Appropriate use of the pesticides that are used.
Sustainable African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)


The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification.

They work throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards.

Their mission: “We are committed to conserving forests and their invaluable biodiversity, and the communities and families that own, work and live in and around forests.”

PEFC bases its understanding of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) on the definition adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which defines SFM as: “The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”

Under this definition, to achieve sustainability, forest management practices must result in outcomes that are

  • economically viable
  • ecologically sound, and
  • socially just.

These three pillars cannot be divided, compartmentalized, or addressed individually. They are a unified whole. Without all three, forests cannot be protected, family foresters cannot thrive, forest-dependent communities cannot exist, illegal logging will not be abated, and carbon emissions will not be mitigated.

Forest certification provides a mechanism to address these and ensure that wood and wood-based products reaching the marketplace have been sourced from sustainably managed forests.

However, PEFC recognizes that the diversity of forests and of the communities that depend upon them for their livelihoods means that a “one-size-fits-all” standard is not the solution. Furthermore, unless all concerned stakeholders are involved in sustainable management policy formulation and implementation, sustainable forest management cannot be achieved.

PEFC therefore acts as an umbrella organisation, who work by endorsing national forest certification systems developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions.

With 39 endorsed national certification systems and more than 300 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification system. Each national forest certification system undergoes a rigorous third-party assessment against PEFC’s unique sustainability benchmarks to ensure consistency with international requirements.



The Sustainable African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) has developed and manages a National Certification System that has been endorsed by the PEFC. The SAFAS standard is based on the Government’s Principles, Criteria, Indicators and Standards (PCI&S) for sustainable forest management.

The objective of this system is to have a National Certification System that is appropriate to all scales of plantation forests. In South Africa, about 80 percent of the plantation area has been certified under the FSC system and most of this area is owned or managed by large organizations. As the demand for certified products increases, both abroad and locally, certification could become a trade barrier to smaller management units. The complexity and costs of managing plantations under the FSC system precludes many smaller operations from achieving certification, this could lead to a shortage of timber to meet market demand. It was felt that a National Standard that is more appropriate to plantation forestry in South Africa and sensitive to the needs of smaller-scale operations is required.

It is hoped, with both systems in place, certification will be accessible to all South African forestry owners and managers. This will help all industry players to meet the future demands for certified timber, as well as realise the social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits that certification brings.

Unlike the FSC, SAFAS currently has no specific pesticide policy but rather requires that as a minimum the legal requirements of the country are met and upheld. In addition to this, SAFAS requires an IPM programme to be in place ensuring pesticides are used responsibly and in conjunction with other management options.

International Standards Organisation (ISO)


ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 162 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade. ISO has published 21571 international standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. ISO International Standards impact everyone, everywhere. ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade. Our standards are developed by the people that need them, through a consensus process. Experts from all over the world develop the standards that are required by their sector. This means they reflect a wealth of international experience and knowledge.

Two of the most popular standards are ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management. These are also two standards that are commonly used in the industry.


The use of pesticides in the South African forestry and forest products industry is well regulated. While their use is governed locally through legislation, which in turn is guided by international conventions; most forestry companies in South Africa have been voluntarily certified through one or more certification schemes. These schemes can sometimes impose their own pesticide governance, over and above legislation.

As a result, the range of pesticides available, the dosage quotas and limits and application methods are strictly governed, and to an extent, restricted. This is why it is critical to understand the laws and certification requirements around pesticide use as this ensures timber plantations are managed responsibly, sustainably and in line with local and international governance and certification requirements.

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