Friday, 24 January 2014

Duct Work Cleaning: How Often Should Your Kitchen Extracts Be Cleaned?

Is Duct Work Cleaning Every 2 Years Enough?

As a general rule, the minimum requirement for duct work cleaning is every 2 years, but for many businesses a more frequent schedule is vital. As a business owner, you have a duty to ensure that extract cleaning is carried out as often as necessary to keep air quality to acceptable levels. How quickly ducts and filters need cleaning will vary, depending on the type of use and type of occupants. 

The Law
Current legislation states that duct work cleaning must be carried out at least every 2 years for general systems, such as air conditioning for offices. However, there is a more frequent requirement for yearly cleaning of kitchen extracts and duct work. Although "every 2 years" or "every 1 year" is often regarded as the guideline, the law actually says each premises must be assessed on its own requirements. That means you need to call on professional expertise to get the frequency of industrial extraction cleaning right.

Under fire regulations, as well as those covering health and safety at work, the manager of any workplace must take action to eradicate any risks or keep them to a minimum. These rules make it a requirement to check kitchen extract systems in order to find any possible fire dangers, and act to remove them by ensuring any grease build-up is regularly cleared.  

Reasons You Might Need More Frequent Duct Work Cleaning
If you work in an establishment which has high levels of airborne dust or grease, it is likely your duct work will need to be cleaned far more frequently than the legal minimums. This especially applies to kitchens where equipment such as deep fat fryers, grills, wood or charcoal burners is used.

According to expert duct cleaners, in some hamburger restaurants using this kind of equipment, especially those open round the clock, duct work cleaning may be needed as often as monthly. For some other fast food outlets, the suggested frequency is around every two months, while a 90-day regime may be appropriate for most restaurants and works canteens. In some smaller restaurants, six-monthly kitchen extract cleaning is suitable, but you should get expert advice to decide on the optimum schedule for your particular business. 

Other types of business where frequent industrial extraction cleaning is necessary include manufacturing works, such as printworks and those handling paper or textiles. Workplaces close to an external source of pollution, such as motorways, factories or chimneys, are also likely to require duct work cleaning at shorter intervals than the statutory norm. In these types of premises, where there is heavy use, of up to 16 hours a day, the typical cleaning schedule should be every three months. When premises are in use for between 6 and 12 hours, that may come down to six monthly. 

Greater frequency of extract cleaning is also advised in any establishment with vulnerable occupants, such as kitchens serving schools, care homes and hospices. Ingot has carried out air duct cleaning for a care home group in East Anglia for the last five years, and liaises with facility managers at each site in the group to ensure  cleaning is carried out at a convenient time. 

How Can I Tell What Frequency is Right For Me?
Duct cleaning contractor Ingot can inspect your duct work and give you advice based on the last cleaning date and the current level of build up. We will also take into account factors such as the level of usage and the environment.

If you are unsure over the best schedule, the way forward is to take advice from a professional cleaning company. This will help to protect you under legislation and will also ensure that your duct work will always be kept to an acceptable standard of cleanliness.

Duct Work Cleaning – Follow the link to get in touch.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Starting A New Catering Business - Some Tips

Starting A New Catering Business – Tips To Get You Started From Duct Work Cleaning Company Ingot Services

In the course of carrying out duct work cleaning and other types of cleaning for commercial kitchens, we at Ingot Services have gained an extensive knowledge of the elements that are needed to make a successful catering business, especially when it comes to setting the right standards in hygiene, health and safety.

Tips When Starting Your Commercial Catering Business 

Whether you are starting up from scratch or taking over an existing catering business, it can pay dividends to make sure that your business is run efficiently and effectively. Once you have registered your premises with the environmental health service something which needs to be done at least 28 days before opening making sure you have good working practices in place is paramount, especially for health and safety. You need to bear the following factors in mind:

General hygiene: Hand-washing and toilet facilities must obviously be hygienic and suitably situated, and there are special requirements including making sure that toilets don't open straight into rooms where food is prepared and having washbasins used only for cleaning hands, as well as a separate basin for washing food.  

There must be hygienic and suitable arrangements for waste disposal and other rubbish, covering it up properly to avoid attracting pests, while the regulations also cover ensuring an adequate supply of drinking water and making sure it can't be contaminated, for instance by water from your refrigeration system.

Another area which must be remembered is your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and here regular duct work cleaning is vital to ensure that pipes stay clean and do not become clogged with grease and dust where mould and bacteria can breed. 

Food preparation: Hygiene is paramount in your areas for food preparation and you need to make sure staff are trained and supervised in handling food properly to avoid any risk of cross-contamination or other health risks. Any surfaces where food is prepared must be easy to clean, so you need smooth work surfaces which can be washed easily and any worn ones with corners where dirt can collect will not be approved. Facilities to clean all your cooking equipment and disinfect it where necessary are also essential, and both equipment and surfaces need to be cleaned and disinfected in between preparing different items, especially raw and cooked food. 

Insect screens are needed on any windows which open straight on to areas where staff prepare food, and any doors which are open a lot of the time will also need screens. Equally vital is hygienic storage of food at a safe temperature and in a place where it will be safe from pests. Fridges and freezers need regular checking to make sure they are at the correct temperatures, and chilled food should only be removed from the fridge for as short a time as possible before it is prepared. It's also obviously vital to make sure that food is thoroughly cooked before it is served to customers, especially with dishes like pork and poultry. 

Fire safety: There are strict rules to make sure commercial kitchens comply with fire safety, including ensuring that staff are properly trained in fire prevention and know what to do if a blaze does break out. You also need to have appropriate fire extinguishers to hand and keep them properly maintained. Smoke detectors are important too, and more sensitive models are now available which will not constantly go off as a result of normal cooking. 

By law, also, anyone operating a commercial kitchen needs to ensure that fire risk assessments are carried out and updated regularly. An important part of fire prevention is regular duct work cleaning, to prevent any build-up of grease and dirt which could be a fire hazard. Many insurance companies now require duct work in kitchens to be professionally cleaned at least once or twice per year as a fire safety measure.

Health and safety: Risk assessments need to be carried out regularly to protect both your staff and customers. The aim is to identify any hazards which could cause injury or illness and then decide on action to deal with the risks. In a kitchen this could, for instance, include taking precautions to guard against staff being injured by knives or cooking equipment. Cleaning ventilation systems is another element to consider here too, to avoid any risk of staff being made ill by bacteria breeding in pipework. 

There are numerous laws and regulations which anyone running a catering business needs to comply with, including the Food Safety Act 1990, Food Premises (Registration) Regulations 1991, Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995, Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995, and Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which include regulations on regular cleaning of HVAC ducts.

Ingot Services – Duct Work Cleaning and Kitchen Cleaning Services To Help Meet Your Regulatory Requirements

Ingot Services offers a range of services to help catering businesses to meet their regulatory requirements. We are accredited by three professional organisations and will carry out deep cleaning of your kitchen, including duct work cleaning, using the correct equipment, as well as issuing you with full paperwork and keeping records to show that you have conformed with the legal regulations.

Duct Work Cleaning Contact Ingot Services for more information.

Ductwork Cleaning: Ingot Services Advises on Food Hygiene Ratings

5 Steps to an Excellent Food Hygiene Rating in 2014

An excellent food hygiene rating has become the new must-have accolade for food outlets everywhere – and ductwork cleaning is among the essential steps needed. Make 2014 the year to get this aspect of your business right. This is vital to preserve your reputation with new and existing customers and protect your business from negative publicity. As an expert duct cleaning contractor, Ingot can advise you on the best steps to take.

About the Food Hygiene Rating System
Anyone eating out in England, Wales or Northern Ireland will probably have noticed the “scores on the doors”. These are numbers displayed outside a catering business, which show its rating for hygiene. They range from 0 – meaning “urgent improvement needed” – up to 5, or “very good”. 

The ratings in Scotland are different, with companies either being awarded a “pass” grade or one of “improvement required”. Whichever system you operate under, your business should aim to achieve the top rating available. This will reassure your customers that food is handled hygienically and all possible steps are being taken to keep the premises safe, including meticulous kitchen extract cleaning.

1. Train all staff in Food Hygiene
It is a legal requirement for all staff working with food to have at least a Level 2 Hygiene Certificate in Catering. An Environmental Health Inspector will carry out an inspection every three years to ensure their knowledge is up to date, so you must ensure all members of your team regularly attend courses and are aware of any changes in best practice.  

It is also a good idea to have supervisors, managers and owners qualified well above the minimum, achieving a level 3 certificate, designed for anyone running a team of food handlers, or level 4, which equips workers to train others. This is not just a box ticking exercise to impress inspectors, but an important safeguard for your business and its customers. 

It is also good to give training to all employees, including waiters and bar staff, even if they are not actually handling food. This will ensure the awareness of hygiene runs through every level of your business.

2. Get staff on board
It is essential to tell staff about the food hygiene rating system and make sure they know how important it is to the business, and to their own jobs. You need to foster daily vigilance to ensure there is no danger of slipping into bad habits, such as skimping on kitchen cleaning or failing to schedule ductwork cleaning. Put measures in place to reward good hygiene and encourage people to spot and report any problems they might notice. Remember, your staff are your first line of defence in promoting good hygiene.

3. Review your regular cleaning regime
It is a legal requirement to have a properly documented cleaning rota, with adequate supplies of cleaning materials. However, what was a suitable cleaning regime when you started the business may not be enough as demands change. You will need to look at it again if your restaurant expands, you change the range of foods being served, or you buy different equipment and change the layout of your kitchen area. 

In the hectic atmosphere of a busy kitchen, with so many demands on your time, it is easy to put off reviewing your cleaning regime, but this is a recipe for problems. You must make it a priority to look at your daily routine and make any necessary adjustments.  

4. Back up with scheduled deep cleaning
Deep kitchen cleaning gives everyone a fresh start. Having this carried out regularly guards against hazardous build-up of dirt in areas which are not easily accessible every day, such as behind cupboards and appliances. Deep cleans demonstrate to staff the importance of hygiene and reduce the chance of problems.

5. Include invisible kitchen extracts and ductwork
Because kitchen extracts and ductwork can't be seen or accessed by staff, it is tempting to overlook the need for them to be cleaned regularly. However, these are potential sources of contamination, where grease, bacteria and germs can build up. If you fail to arrange ductwork cleaning on a regular basis, it can undermine other hygiene efforts. Dirty extracts and ductwork alone are enough for inspectors to withhold a good food hygiene rating, so you need to give full attention to these areas.

Ductwork Cleaning  – Click here to contact Ingot and find out more.