Fires within commercial kitchens can have devastating effects on your business and public safety. Most fires can be prevented with effective fire safety precautions.
According to UK government statistics, over half of all fires attended by fire services involve cooking equipment, with the biggest cause being the fryers. Professional kitchens are very high risk environments for fires, as large volumes of flammable cooking oils, naked flames, and heat sources are in constant use. The most common cause of a fire in a commercial kitchen is the deep fat fryer, which can in turn lead to a fire in the extraction ducting, resulting in a fire throughout the premises.
There are steps you can take to minimise the risk of a fire. Your kitchen should be equipped with a fire blanket, and all of the relevant appliances should be CE marked. Extractor fans should receive a deep clean twice a year to keep them effective.
What the law says
The Fire Safety Order (2005) states that all commercial premises must nominate one individual as the ‘Responsible Person’ for the building. This is generally the owner, occupier, or employer. It is the Responsible Persons’ duty to ensure that a fire risk assessment is undertaken, reasonable steps are taken to reduce the risk from fire, and to make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.
In May 2014, Manjit Takhar, owner of the Bescot Hotel in Walsall, was found guilty for breaching fire safety regulations. An investigation into the premises revealed the fire exit on the first floor had been blocked by mattresses, in addition the fire alarms were deemed to be faulty, amongst other regulation contraventions. As a result he was jailed for 12 months. In October 2015, restaurant owner Askar Miah was fined £25,000 for his failings to comply with the law, after fire officers found an inadequate fire alarm system, the fire exit was not well protected and there was inadequate emergency lighting.
Results of non-compliance with the law
Failing to comply with fire safety can result in a magnitude of problems. The lives and safety of employees and customers are at risk if precautions are not in place. A fire often causes severe damage to the building, stock, and equipment. This can lead to months of lost revenue and high costs of repair. Furthermore, failure to comply with fire safety law can lead to large fines and prison sentences for the establishments’ owner(s).
What Food Alert can do to help
Food Alert provides clients with comprehensive risk assessments, to ensure that the environment is safe and the potential risks of fire are minimised. Furthermore, we offer effective Fire Safety training to help your premises meet the legal requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005. In addition to this, we also offer a Fire Safety Awareness online course, to refresh the knowledge of Fire Marshalls and educate all staff in general fire safety.
If you would like to train a member of your staff as a fire marshal you can book your classroom training here. If you have any enquiries about this topic please contact Food Alert on 020 7244 1900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.