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Welcome to the swedish page
Chimney Sweeping in Sweden
In Sweden, there is a law that says that chimney sweeping and fire safety inspections must be carried out for all fireplaces/furnaces, including the chimneys, as well as for ventilation systems in restaurant kitchens.
 
It is the municipality that is responsible for chimney sweeping and fire safety inspections. Most municipalities choose to contract out these services to private chimney sweep companies.  It is also the municipality that decides the frequency of the sweeping and inspections, as well as the fees that the homeowner (restaurant owner) must pay the chimney sweep company for the services.
 
In Sweden, there are over 1,000 professional chimney sweeps.  A total of 160 chimney sweep companies carry out the sweeping in the country.  In addition to the legally required sweeping, the chimney sweep companies offer other services, such as cleaning of ventilation systems in homes and at workplaces.  It is becoming more and more common that chimney sweep companies install fireplaces and ventilation systems.
 
The basic education to become a chimney sweep is 20 weeks long and comprises both classroom learning and practice at a workplace. Anyone who has passing grades from upper secondary school is eligible to apply. The education is provided by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and it is free of charge. The individual can either first complete the education and then apply for a job at a chimney sweep company, or first be hired by a company and then go through the education.
 
Anyone who has completed the basic education and has least two years of working experience is eligible to apply to the master’s education. As with the basic education, the master’s education is 20 weeks long and comprises both classroom learning and practice at a workplace.
 
The basic education is required for chimney sweeping and cleaning restaurant ventilation systems. The master’s education is required for carrying out fire safety inspections.
 
Trade Union
The name of the trade union for chimney sweeps in Sweden is Kommunal, the Swedish Municipal Workers Union, which is a union for many public service occupations. The largest trade union in Sweden, Kommunal has over 520,000 members, 650 of whom are chimney sweeps. 
 
Kommunal concludes collective agreements on behalf of chimney sweeps with Sveriges Skorstensfejarmästares Riksförbund (SSR) which is the employers’ association for private chimney sweep companies.
 
The most important trade union issues, besides wage increases, are related to the working environment. These issues are primarily about exposure to soot and other hazardous substances, roof safety, and how to organize the work so as to prevent stress.
 
In Sweden, a number of studies have been carried out over several decades investigating the prevalence of cancer among chimney sweeps in Sweden.  The results show that chimney sweeps are overrepresented for a variety of cancer-related diseases. Kommunal has taken the initiative to work towards minimizing exposure to soot in the chimney sweep’s working environment.  This can be achieved through new working methods, better protective equipment and improved product development. Kommunal has also begun working with the employers’ association to improve the working environment for chimney sweeps.
 
As these issues are not exclusive to the chimney sweeps in Sweden, through the ICU we can work across borders to improve the working environment for all chimney sweeps in Europe. 
 
 
 
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