BESA revamps ‘vital ventilation hygiene training’

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has updated the Grease Hygiene training courses that it says ‘underpin professional standards in the ventilation hygiene sector’.

The revised courses will be delivered through BESA-approved training centres across the UK, and are designed to help contractors comply with the industry’s specification, TR19 Grease (for kitchen extract systems). The Association said: “The new courses meet a growing and widely recognised need to have training and testing focused specifically on grease hygiene operatives (GHO3) who clean kitchen extract systems. They also provide training for higher-level grease hygiene technicians (GHT3) who create risk assessments/method statements, carry out cleanliness testing/reporting, and mark out/install extra access panels where required.”

BESA attributes ‘a surge in demand’ for specialised hygiene services in recent years to ‘the rise in knowledge and awareness of the poor air quality and fire risk posed by badly maintained ventilation systems’. It said: “The new Building Safety Act has further raised the stakes for addressing fire risk in buildings.” This has also led to the rebranding of BESA’s Vent Hygiene Register (VHR) ‘to reflect the higher profile of the sector’.

BESA director of Training and Skills, Helen Yeulet (pictured), said: “With building owners, operators, and insurers, becoming more aware of the fire risks posed by poorly cleaned and maintained ventilation systems, there is a clear need for training covering the very latest technical information and skills so ventilation hygiene specialists can provide evidence of compliance with all the key standards.

“Ventilation hygiene is a critical part of any air quality and fire risk assessment process, and all duty-holders under the Act must be able to provide evidence they have used compliant people to carry out any safety-related activity. Compliance with TR19 and TR19 Grease is a priority for both those enforcing the legislation and the insurance industry, so having fully trained operatives is crucial for contractors working in this area.”

The guiding principle of TR19 – first developed by BESA in 1998, and regularly updated since – is that a defined, measurable level of cleanliness should be achieved to improve safety and comfort in buildings. The new short courses reflect TR19 Grease by highlighting topics such as safe working, recognising different types of ductwork and systems, the use and location of access panels, cleaning standards, methods, and techniques, and the principles of kitchen extract systems and associated components.

All trainees must hold an accredited health and safety certificate such as BESA’s Online Health and Safety Environment test or equivalent, so they already have good underpinning health and safety knowledge to keep themselves and colleagues safe. BESA added: “The particular risk management issues associated with working in ventilation systems will be reinforced, alongside adherence to guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, and the use of appropriate PPE.

“Trainees will learn about the key cleaning techniques, and methods used to record systems’ condition before and after cleaning. They will be trained on gaining safe access to ductwork, and on the component parts that make up ventilation and extraction systems. On completion of the technician course, they will be able to recognise and complete method statements and risk assessments, and will also learn how to communicate effectively with clients, work colleagues, and supervisors.”

The courses will also equip trainees to discuss wider elements of their work – including its impact on sustainability, and the better functioning of the building – with clients and occupants, BESA says.

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