Calling all fumigators

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Employers and technicians involved in fumigation can now benefit from new guidance from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The comprehensive 40-page guidance document Fumigation: Health and safety guidance for employers and technicians carrying out fumigation operations (HSG251) is available to download from the HSE website or from the Pest Library.

It outlines the risks involved and describes the law that applies to fumigation operations. It also includes updated references to legislation and links to further guidance as well as providing a clearer explanation of what actions to take and why.

There are sections on:

  • General health and safety law;
  • The requirements of COSHH;
  • The responsibilities and required competencies of fumigators/fumigation technicians;
  • Procedures common to all fumigation operations, including defining fumigation areas, application and venting of fumigants, the use of monitoring equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), including respiratory protective equipment (RPE);
  • Health surveillance;
  • First aid;
  • Emergency measures.

In addition, in the appendices there are details of the precautions necessary for specific fumigations such as fumigations within hospitals and other buildings, under gas-proof sheeting, on ships, coasters, barges and in freight containers, the use of fumigation chambers, the fumigation of grain in silos and mammals underground.

The HSE recommends that employers and fumigators familiarise themselves with both the general information and the information specific to the fumigation they are undertaking. As with all such documents, following the guidance is not compulsory (unless specifically stated) which means you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.


Using aluminium phosphide
Anyone using aluminioum phosphide should read
the new HSE guidelines

HSE Fumigation guide
Dowload your copy of Fumigation: Health and safety guidance for employers and technicians carrying out fumigation operations (HSG251) here

New FAQ web page
HSE has also produced a new fumigation web page contining a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers such as ‘Why are fumigants hazardous?’ and ‘What training do fumigators need?’.

The information is primarily targeted at employers and fumigation technicians (including the self-employed) but it also explains how clients can check that their fumigator is competent referring to the need for a certificate of competence from 26 November 2015 onwards.

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