Considerations for Fire Risks in Food Outlets and Restaurants
If you are a business working or operating to providing fast food and or as a restaurant, below are a few considerations you should take for your Risk Assessment:
- If you have people sleeping above the business and your means of escape takes you in to the kitchen area, you should be aware that this is putting their lives at risk.
- Consider prohibiting the sleeping above or make the rooms safe by providing alternative means of escape from the premises which does not lead into the kitchen area.
- Separation from the kitchen and the living quarters should be 60 mins minimum.
- Open kitchens provide an important ambient feature for some restaurants, but they do increase the risk of fire for the restaurant customers.
- Some options to reduce this risk are, Sprinklers/suppression units, fire resistant glass partitions or total enclosure.
- Ensure any fire extinguishers are fit for purpose and especially suited to the style of cooking you use in your kitchen along with appropriate training in their use.
- Ensure ducting in the building which is designed to take the fats and odours of the kitchen are regularly cleaned and steam cleaned as necessary. Keep documentation of all work.
- Regularly inspect the fit of any ducting particularly when going through walls into another compartment of the building. There should be no gaps, so as to protect against the spread of fire.
Common Causes of Fires in Commercial Kitchens;
- Human Error - frequent change of staff along with poor training can lead to fires.
- Poor Housekeeping - combustibles materials kept too close to ignition sources.
- Cooking equipment failure - Lack of equipment maintenance.
- Extract ductwork equipment – should be maintained and cleaned to a standard, BESA TR19 (Best Practice).
The above are just a few points to consider. For a more complex and bigger business we recommend that you find a risk assessor of some experience of the trade who could carry out a Risk Assessment for you.