The CEN European standard for pest management service is racing ahead and on schedule to be completed by September 2013. That will be under three years from start to finish making it faster than the minimum three years that it normally takes to produce a CEN standard. An update on progress was provided as part of the European Pest Management Organisation (CEPA) day held during the Eurocido exhibition in Dortmund, Germany on 15 and 16 February.
The CEN session attracted only a handful of delegates. Perhaps the low turnout was because it had the misfortune to be the last presentation on the second day of Eurocido and was held just after lunch. More likely it was down to the fact that in Germany the imposition of a European standard for pest management service is not seen as any sort of a threat. Already, to work in pest control in Germany PCOs must hold an official certificate which can only be obtained after three years of training. Whatever the CEN standard comes up with, it is unlikely it will be anywhere near this rigorous!
Interestingly there was plenty of press interest with ourselves atPestkeen to find out what had happened since the update we heard at PestTech in November 2011 and the German magazine,DPS , the DutchPCN and the Bulgarian Association magazine all represented. Perhaps some other countries in Europe are more concerned by developments although in the case of the Dutch pest controllers they too must by law hold a certificate to work in the industry.
The presentation by Rob Fryatt, who chairs the CEN Technical Workgroup, covered some old ground explaining why the industry decided to develop a standard; namely as a response to demand from customers (in particular the multinationals in the food industry) and also to ensure that the standard was developed by the industry rather than waiting to have something produced by bureaucrats and imposed on us.
He emphasised that this is a standard and not a training manual. “It will specify the requirements and basic competences required to reach a professional level of operation for service technicians,” he said.
The UK”s Rob Fryatt chairs the CEN standard Technical Workgroup
“The standard will enable pest management companies to benchmark themselves, it will state clearly to customers what they can expect from a provider of pest management services and it will provide a way for people who use pest management services to recognise which pest controllers can be relied upon.”
For those who are not aware, the CEN – the European Committee for Standardisation is a co-ordinating body for the 31 individual national standards institutes in Europe (such as the British Standards Institute (BSI) and DIN, the German standards body). According to administrators at CEN, the level of involvement right across the European pest management industry has been exceptional with currently 12 countries sending delegates to the Technical workgroup. Also at these meetings, but with observer status, are the sponsors, CEPA and the EuroGroup for Animals. “This animal welfare group has added a lot to our discussions,” said Rob Fryatt. “I think they have been surprised at our industry’s openness and our positive approach to animal welfare,” he added.
The third of these Techncial Workgroup meeting was held last September and there was a large degree of agreement across Europe. At that meeting a small subsidiary workgroup was established to think about and provide clear guidance on how the standard will be validated. “Everyone is working towards having a draft document ready for the fourth meeting which will be in London this coming April,” said Rob. “After that we expect that by the fifth meeting, scheduled for Italy in September this year, we will be able to agree a proposal for submission for external comment. If all goes well, a Standard Proposed for Publication will be published in March 2013 then six months later, in September 2013, the Standard itself will be in place.”
He continued: “We are making excellent progress and there is a surprising but welcome level of agreement across Europe. We are on plan, if not ahead of plan, to deliver the standard by 2013.”
Calling for more debate within the industry such as the session held at PestTech last year, he suggested: “There is still insufficient communication within the industry at grass roots level about the benefits of a European Standard.”
Whilst the CEN standard will be voluntary there is scope for the industry to lobby at national and European level to have it incorporated into law. At an EU level there has been some early success with MEP Christa Klass, the rapporteur for the EU Parliament on the Biocides Directive, already expressing support for the idea of making the standard a statutory requirement.