The COVID-19 pandemic has made us more in tune with keeping our workspace clean, sanitized, and safe. Commercial Kitchen owners especially are very aware that any area with electrical equipment, gas, heating elements etc. must be designed and maintained with health and safety as their highest priorities.
In general, most facilities know the basics regarding kitchen safety. Here are a few reminders and ideas to ensure that your commercial kitchen is as safe and clean as possible.
Fire Prevention & Regulation Compliancy
Sadly, fires often occur in commercial cooking kitchens that do not have the proper safety safeguards in place. Fire departments have safety guidelines that need to be adhered to ensure that your commercial kitchen is safe. Be sure to locate and thoroughly read over your state and local fire department’s safety and cleaning guidelines. Adhere to the guidelines stringently as they can protect and save lives.
Properly Clean your Cooking Appliances*
*Note: these are some of the fire and cleaning procedures necessary for a safe kitchen. For a full list of guidelines, visit your state and local fire department’s website.
- Institute a cooking appliance cleaning regimen for your grills, fat fryers, broilers, ovens, etc.
- Thoroughly clean the hoods and ducts because grease buildup can cause a fire.
- Exhaust system ducts and other system components above the hood cleaning must be done by an FDNY approved licensed company and their certified employees.
- Grease filters must be inspected and be cleaned by a trained and knowledgeable person.
- Grease filters should be visually inspected daily.
- Equipment using solid fuel must be visually inspected monthly.
- Commercial system exhaust inspection must be done every 3 months minimum.
- Commercial system exhaust cleaning must be performed every 3 months minimum.
- Vertical duct work (risers) more than 3 floors above the cooking equipment exhaust must be cleaned every 6 months minimum.
- Grease filters must be cleaned once a month minimum.
Other Safety Precautions
According to the NY State Fire Department, here are other important safety requirements:
- Commercial kitchens are required to have a licensed Master Fire Suppression piping contractor inspect, test and service your fire suppression system.
- You are also responsible for having at least one K-class portable fire extinguisher placed in the cooking area, in case of a manageable grease fire.
- Place the extinguisher within 30 ft. of the commercial cooking equipment.
- Have your portable fire extinguishers visually inspected monthly by a trained and knowledgeable person.
- Service and recharge portable fire extinguishers annually by an FDNY approved company.
- Review with your kitchen staff, the manual operation of the fire extinguishing system at minimum once every 6 months.
Must Have Safety Items
Security cameras, fire extinguishers, wet floor signs, aprons, oven mitts, goggles and more.
Use non-skid silicone-textured handles on your utensils so you can grip them easily and prevent slippage.
Every professional kitchen should be fitted with anti-slip flooring. Wet floor signs should be positioned to warn of a potential hazard. Floors should be regularly cleaned to ensure dirt, grease and unnecessary objects are removed.
Proper Waste Disposal
In commercial kitchens, food waste and rubbish must be quickly moved away from edible food. Additionally, food waste should be placed in containers with tight lids.
Keeping kitchen staff and consumers healthy and safe from harmful pathogens is a must. The 4Cs of proper food hygiene:
- Cleaning food areas and disinfecting surfaces regularly.
- Cooking meat thoroughly to eliminate harmful bacteria.
- Chilling specific foods to prevent bacteria growth.
- Cross-contamination (preventing raw uncooked foods from contaminating other foods). Use separate kitchen tools for different foods.
Adhering to these and other health and safety guidelines will create a safe and healthy atmosphere for your staff and customers.
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*Reference: New York State Fire Safety in Commercial Cooking Locations