Having the ability to measure and control the exposure of gas in a workplace is important no matter what industry you are in, however in a sector like hospitality and catering where a large number of gas appliances are often used it is crucial to ensuring the health and safety of your employees.
What regulations must be adhered for gas appliances in catering?
Various acts and statutory instruments are used to govern the safe management of catering workplaces. The Workplace Regulations (1992) state that catering workplaces including kitchens dining rooms and other rooms need to have adequate ventilation in order to prevent the build-up of toxic fumes. This ventilation can be achieved by an extraction system.
In addition to the previously stated regulations, there are also the ‘Gas Safety Regulations’ (1998) which put new rules on gas appliances used in commercial kitchens. In addition to ventilation, there are also requirements for an appropriate amount of make-up air to be present to prevent the build-up of dangerous substances like carbon monoxide or natural gas.
The dangers of gas appliances in kitchens
Having gas appliances within a kitchen poses a variety of issues for catering staff. The extreme heat often causes burns and the hot environment can cause severe discomfort. Here are some of the dangers faced by catering staff in gas-equipped kitchens.
Having the right ventilation system will help you prevent the buildup of natural gases, however, poor ventilation can have other negative effects when combined with gas appliances.
Hot stoves and cooking equipment emit heat which can make the working environment uncomfortable for workers. This increases heat stress which can increase the risk of preventable workplace incidents.
Displaces ambient air
Gas leaks are not only dangerous due to the increased risk of explosions, natural gas also displaces the ambient air which reduces the oxygen levels within the workplace. This can cause long term health issues for your workers and cause respiratory issues.
How to safeguard workers against gas-related hazards
Ensuring there is not a buildup of gas in a kitchen environment is crucial given the exposed flames that are often present during service. As an employer, you should make sure you are managing the risk through preventative measures and a way to detect gas levels if you suspect a leak.
Carrying a suitable gas detection device with you when assessing the safety of kitchens will make it easy for you to assess any dangerous readings.
If you work in larger environments having a continuously monitoring gas detection system can help give your employees peace of mind that they are working in a safe area. These systems are good if a part of your workplace is left unmanned for long periods. The system can also monitor gas levels outside of working hours.
Ensure your appliances are properly maintained
Catering equipment is damaged over time especially from continuous use. If you work in a kitchen environment make sure you check the strength of the pipes feeding the gas into the equipment; this is often the cause of many gas leaks. Also, making sure you have your appliances regularly serviced by a gas safe professional will help keep your catering environment safe for your workers.