Fires in kitchens are a common occurrence, and they can have potentially devastating effects on your business and yourself. Restaurants have open flames, hot equipment, electrical connections, chemicals, paper products and so much more; commercial kitchens are the breeding ground for deadly fires and extra measures need to be taken to avoid fatal disasters. Here’s how to prevent kitchen fires in your workplace.
While fires are a common hazard in the kitchen workplace, they are still preventable and if the correct steps are taken beforehand, your workplace could prove to be safe to work in - here are four ways to prevent kitchen fires in your workplace:
1. Proper & Regular Staff Training
2. Maintain Proper Cleanliness
3. Complete Regular Risk Assessments
4. Wear Proper Clothing
These four measures, if executed properly, will help to make sure the only fires in your restaurant are inside a flaming sambuca shot glass and not inside your kitchen. Here’s a more thorough look into each piece of advice.
1. Invest In Adequate Staff Training
It’s simple; if staff are trained beforehand, then they’ll know the correct steps to take to ensure a fire either doesn’t start, or doesn’t get out of control. If training isn’t provided, then their own lives are in danger and in turn, everyone else in the establishment could also be affected. So, regular training should be stressed and emphasised constantly, and should be compulsory for every staff member taken on board.
If needed, remind staff of the basics too, such as not leaving food unattended or keep access to fire blankets clear at all times. Once bad habits set in, there’s always the risk they’ll one day be fatal.
You should also be aware of evacuation procedures, as well as the usage of fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, so you and staff know how to use them when and if the time comes. Using shortcuts such as the PAST technique is a good way of keeping the training fresh and it can also grow fire fighting abilities.
2. Maintain Cleanliness At All Times
Maintaining cleanliness in your workplace kitchen can also link to staff training, as they should be taught about the possible dangers when the area isn’t clean.
Grease build-up is a common issue in the kitchen and you should look to clean all remnants of grease from every surface, as this will prevent air-flow restriction depending on what you’re cleaning. Grease is rampant in plenty of kitchens, but a strict cleaning schedule could combat that.
Fire hazards need to be addressed also. Flammable products need to be stored correctly and in air tight containers as well as storing away paper products and boxes from heat and cooking sources, while chemical solutions should also be used properly.
Another factor, which is often forgotten about when tackling kitchen cleanliness, is that walking lanes need to be kept clear. This is especially important if there is a fire and any fire exits are blocked.
3. Conduct Risk Assessments
Risk assessments are required by law, so there’s no escaping this procedure and there should be no excuses down the line if a fire does eventually does take place because of carelessness. With fires, prevention is better than cure, so bringing in a qualified risk assessor ensures that your workplace is either safe to work in, or they’d point out the dangers which you need to correct before any work can be done there.
EU directives put in place by OSHA, aimed at reducing general health risk in the work place, requires employers to carry out a workplace risk assessment of all safety and health risks, including the risks from dangerous substances, and to set appropriate protection and prevention measures.
A risk assessment can also lead on to other fire prevention tactics, as it can help you plan a regular schedule for equipment maintenance; keeping an eye out for frayed wiring or cords, or even broken switch plates and combustible items near power sources.
4. Research Appropriate Clothing (and make it a requirement).
Believe it or not, the clothing you wear in a kitchen can prevent fires so appropriate clothing at your workplace could be the difference between staying safe and putting out an eventual fire.
Wearing long, flowing sleeves over a burning flame is a recipe for disaster. The sleeves are bound to catch fire, so this should be avoided at all costs, especially since scalding is one of the most common injuries which means you’d be avoiding two big hazards. Synthetic clothing is also a fire hazard as it can potentially melt on your skin if it catches on fire, so opting for a different material is a much safer route, such as chef jackets featuring cotton buttons instead of plastic.
There are always spills in a kitchen because of the fast-paced environment; there’s always something going on and somebody might overlook or forget to clean up a spill. If you’re walking past a burning stove and slip, you may accidentally knock something over which could ignite a much larger fire.
With non-slip footwear, you’d be preventing fires beforehand as you won’t be in any danger of knocking equipment over to create a hazard.
Want to Know How to Stay Safe On Your Feet?
With slips, trips, and falls the most common accident in a kitchen, specialty footwear is needed to avoid other potentially dangerous hazards, such as a fire. At SHOES FOR CREWS (Europe) Ltd., we have a selection of comfortable, safe and stylish slip-resistant footwear that will get you home safe.
Proper footwear can help stop you worrying about causing accidents in the workplace. You can find out all about our new technologies, and how they help keep you safe at work. Download your FREE copy today.