Friday, 23 November 2012

The Importance of Regular Duct Work Cleaning and Kitchen Maintenance in the Catering Industry

Whether it’s kitchen fires caused by a lack of duct work cleaning, or spills not being cleaned up promptly, a lack of proper maintenance is a major cause of accidents in the hospitality industry. These types of accidents can be very costly in financial terms, and cause human pain and suffering, and most accidents from inadequate maintenance involve equipment.

Your catering equipment is essential to ensure that your business continues to run smoothly and regular maintenance by competent staff will ensure that your equipment performs well and reliably and helps prevent accidents. All items of equipment – whether it is your oven or grease extract fan – need regular maintenance to keep it consistently doing its job to the highest standard. Without regular maintenance your equipment can deteriorate in cleanliness and safety, resulting in a variety of hazards for staff and customers alike. This can range from glasses that aren’t properly cleaned to a serious fire breaking out in your kitchen.

 Legal Requirements 

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 along with subsequent legislation requires employers to provide and maintain safe plant and equipment and to ensure a healthy and safe work environment.

Types of Accidents 

Accidents happen on a daily basis. The five main types of accident caused by poor maintenance in the catering industry are:
·      Slips
·      Exposure to hot or harmful substances
·      Electrical injury
·      Fire and explosion
·      Machinery accidents

Following good maintenance procedures can reduce the likelihood of any of these types of accidents occurring.

Managing Maintenance 

When planning maintenance activity there are a number of points that you need to be aware of:
·      Clear responsibilities must be agreed in situations where the premises and equipment do not belong to the caterer.
·      When working on electrical and gas systems there are specific legal requirements that must be adhered to.
·      You must make sure that the equipment is safe to work on.
·      The contractor should make sure that their employees adopt safe systems of work and leave the equipment and premises in a safe working order.

Types of Maintenance 

The types of maintenance that you should consider implementing are:

1. Cleaning

Cleaning is an essential activity for all hospitality businesses. Cleaning steps that should be undertaken to prevent injury or ill health to staff include
·      Setting up safe methods of cleaning
·      Using cleaning chemicals and materials safely
·      Training and supervising staff properly
·      Cleaning spills up instantly

2. Routine Checks

This involves checking regularly for obvious visible damage and wear and tear.  All employees need to be trained in what to look for, and how to report faults. Areas that should be checked include machine guards, gas appliance controls, electrical plugs, and ventilation systems.

3. Planned Maintenance

Some equipment may need to be regularly serviced by fully trained personnel to ensure their continued safe operation. This includes cleaning of invisible or inaccessible areas such as kitchen extracts and duct work.

4. Breakdown Maintenance

As with planned maintenance, safety critical repairs must only be carried out by a suitably qualified person using the right tools and equipment. Sub-standard, temporary repairs carried out to keep equipment in use may cause injury and contravene health and safety legislation.

5. Inspection and Tests

With some equipment such as gas appliances, pressure cookers and electrical appliances periodic inspection is legally required.

6. Duct Work Cleaning

Duct work is required to be professionally cleaned at least once every 2 years – possibly more often in a very heavily used kitchen. As well as being required by law, it is also required by insurance companies who will not pay out in the event of a fire if the required certification is not in place. Certification can only be supplied by an HVAC registered company.

Other Areas To Consider

A couple of areas to consider when planning maintenance activity include food safety and asbestos.

·      Asbestos – Any building built before 2000 may contain asbestos. You have a duty if you own, control or maintain a premises containing asbestos. More information can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive’s web site.
·      Food safety – as a caterer you must consider the implications to food safety when selecting, installing, maintaining and cleaning any catering equipment.

How Ingot Can Help With Regular Maintenance?

Ingot can help with your maintenance programme through the cleaning of your grease extract fans and ventilation systems. At Ingot Services, we take commercial kitchen and duct work cleaning seriously. We are fully HVAC registered and we are a member of the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, as well as a Safe Contractor Registered firm.

With over 25 years’ experience in deep cleaning and duct work cleaning in commercial kitchens, we have worked with clients ranging from cafes, pubs and bistros through to Michelin Star restaurants, as well as commercial kitchens within hospitals, care homes, schools and more.

To find out more about how Ingot Services can help your commercial kitchen meet health and safety requirements, including your kitchen deep cleaning and duct work cleaning, call today on 0800 731 7892.

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