Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Duct Cleaning – Are You Meeting Your Duty of Care?

Duct cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your buildings. The legal requirement for duct cleaning (link to law article) is all based primarily around the need to exercise a “duty of care” towards people who spend time on your premises. Failing to arrange regular duct cleaning can present significant health and safety risks to your staff, your customers and to people in adjoining premises. But what exactly are these risks, and how serious are they?

The risks, and the seriousness of those risks, vary depending on the type of premises and business you are running, as well as the vulnerability of the occupants. Here are some typical types of premises requiring regular duct cleaning.

Duct Cleaning - contact Ingot today for a free quote on 0800 731 7892.

Duct Cleaning for Commercial Kitchens

In a commercial cleaning there will be two types of duct that require regular cleaning. The first is the kitchen extract system, which takes out steam and smoke from stoves and ovens. Kitchen extracts accumulate grease and dust over time which not only provides a breeding ground for microorganisms, but also poses a significant fire hazard. If a kitchen is located within a larger premises (e.g. within a hotel or adjoining other properties) then a lack of duct cleaning poses a fire risk to the whole building. Duct cleaning is therefore essential in all commercial kitchens to protect staff and customers from fire and microbial contamination.

Elsewhere in the kitchen may be additional general air ducts which require cleaning in the same way as other air conditioning ducts. Even if these ducts are away from the main cooking appliances, they will still tend to clog up more quickly, especially if there are fryers and grills in use.

Ideally, kitchen extract cleaning should be carried out as part of a comprehensive kitchen cleaning regime, including regular cleans and deep cleans of the entire kitchen. There is little point, for example, in arranging a deep clean of your kitchen, only to have significant levels of airborne microbes coming from the kitchen extract system and landing on surfaces and food.Ingot can conduct kitchen extract cleaning and kitchen deep cleaning on a scheduled or one-off basis to ensure the safety of your staff and customers.

Duct Cleaning - contact Ingot today for a free quote on 0800 731 7892.

Duct Cleaning in Medical Settings

If you run a hospital or nursing home, your duty of care is significantly increased and there is a need for especially thorough and frequent duct cleaning. Occupants of these medical settings are particularly vulnerable to infection from airborne micro-organisms and need to be protected from them to a greater degree than other people. Regular duct cleaning is an essential part of the ongoing fight against MRSA, for example.

While the law asks for duct cleaning to be carried out at least every 2 years, medical settings may require more frequent cleaning. However, duct cleaning can be disruptive, so it is advisable to carry out regular inspections and testing, along with very regular filter changes, to assess exactly when cleaning is necessary.

Duct Cleaning - contact Ingot today for a free quote on 0800 731 7892.

Duct Cleaning for Schools

Young children are also more susceptible to sources of airborne infection, so it is very important for schools to carry out regular duct cleaning in all their buildings. Ingot have particular experience of carrying out duct cleaning in schools and have recently won a contract to carry out school duct cleaning for Coventry City Council.

Duct Cleaning for Offices

Occupants of office blocks will tend not to be as vulnerable as those in schools and hospitals, but duct cleaning remains important even here to prevent the transmission of infections. Ducts which are not regularly cleaned can harbour bacteria and mould of all kinds, which can, over time, have a noticeable impact on the health of office workers. “Sick Building Syndrome” for instance, has been proven to be a real phenomenon and has been traced directly to ducts which have not been cleaned frequently enough. As well as making office workers feel generally unwell and more prone to colds and flu, there is obviously an impact on businesses from lost productivity due to sickness absences. All this can be avoided by scheduling regular 2-yearly duct cleaning.

Duct Cleaning in Hotels

Hotels owe a duty of care to all guests staying at the hotel, as well as staff who work there. And ensuring good air quality is an important part of that. Any hotel with ventilation ducts needs to arrange regular inspections and cleaning to ensure that mould and bacteria do not build up to dangerous levels. This risk is exacerbated in any building where there are higher ambient temperatures and higher moisture levels present – and hotels fall into this category. In a hotel where each room has an ensuite bathroom and most guests can be expected to have a bath or shower on most days, moisture levels can become a significant problem. Good air conditioning systems can assist greatly with this, but the ducts used for the air conditioning need to be regularly cleaned to avoid a build up of dust.

How to Meet Your Duty of Care

Meeting your duty of care is actually extremely straightforward. Simply employ a reputable duct cleaning firm who are HVAC certified to carry out duct cleaning to the necessary standards. Then arrange for regular inspections and cleans on a schedule appropriate to your setting. Having your duct cleaning on a schedule makes planning around them easier, and the costs involved more easily budgeted for.

Ingot provide duct cleaning services to private businesses and as well as to organisations owned and run by local authorities.

Duct Cleaning - contact Ingot today for a free quote on 0800 731 7892.

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