Modern schools and colleges contain a wide variety of equipment and facilities which require safe ventilation and fume extraction to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Meeting the safety requirements for all these different systems can be a significant administrative burden, as well as requiring technical expertise to carry out regular inspections, tests and maintenance.
Here we outline the range of systems that a college or school may have, the responsibilities incurred and how Tecomak provides both a technical and management solution to meet these obligations.
Fume Extraction Test and Maintenance
There are several curriculum subjects which involve practical work that can generate potentially hazardous fumes, vapours or particles. These include:
All these types of fume fall under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations and require schools to provide suitable LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) systems to deal with fumes safely. To comply with these regulations these systems require a regular schedule of fume extraction test and maintenance by qualified personnel.
Science Lab Safety
In addition to fume cupboards, there are additional safety measures and testing required in school science labs:
Gas taps on science lab benches or within fume cupboards fall under regulation 35 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The regulation requires a schedule of Gas Safe Laboratory Testing to ensure that gas supplies and fittings are in good working order, free of leaks or defects, and that the gas supply itself is operating at the correct pressure.
Schools also need to provide suitable ventilation and safe extraction of fumes from chemical stores, to keep those fumes away from teaching areas and minimise exposure to teaching staff who may need to enter the chemical store as part of their work. As for other fume extraction systems, they need to be regularly tested and maintained to ensure COSHH compliance.
Kitchen Extract Cleaning
Most schools will have kitchen facilities for provision of student meals, and this will include one or more extract hoods and associated ductwork over cooking areas. School kitchens are in heavy, daily use, which means that grease can build up quickly within the hood and ductwork, and can pose a significant fire hazard.
Since kitchens are usually located in the main school building, and ductwork fires can all too easily spread to other parts of the building, it is essential that the risk of fire is minimised via regular kitchen extract cleaning combined with an inspection regime.
Many schools will also have Food Technology classrooms with ovens, stovetops and extract hoods connected to ducting to take away steam and cooking vapours from the area. Although these won't be used as intensively as the main school kitchen, there will be some build up of grease and dust over time and so these kitchen extracts will also require a suitable cleaning regime to be put in place.
The requirement for regular cleaning of kitchen extracts is covered under Health and Safety legislation, as well as well as EHO (Environmental Health Officer) compliance. In addition, most insurance companies require evidence of certification for fire insurance to be valid.
Safety Services from Tecomak
Tecomak Environmental Services can carry out a full range of testing and maintenance for all types of ventilation systems found in schools and colleges.
We have extensive experience of working with this sector and we understand the particular requirements of educational establishments, from the need to schedule work out of term time to ensuring our personnel are CRB checked.
Wherever possible we aim to combine test and maintenance visits to minimise disruption. Because we can deal with every aspect of testing and maintenance, including filter replacements and mechanical repairs, you don't need to find different contractors to deal with different aspects of the job or to deal with different types of system – which all helps to keep down the admin. To help even further, we can (for contract clients) maintain an asset database on your behalf, send timely reminders when testing or other maintenance work is required, and keep copies of all your test certification documents.
– To find out more about our range of services for schools and colleges, click here.