04 Sep Get Your Commercial Kitchen Operational With Gas Engineers
The one thing commercial kitchens must have before they can start operating, which is more important than ingredients or even a chef, is a gas network that is safe to use.
Kitchens need stoves, ovens, and boilers to function, but it is essential these are connected professionally to ensure the safety of both staff members and customers.
Read on to find out how to get your commercial catering operation up and running.
Commercial gas engineers are needed to install the correct pipework in the kitchen, making sure this fits British gas safety standards.
They are also required for the installation of the ventilation or extraction system, ensuring any gas is removed from the area.
Some kitchen managers might also want to install an interlocking proving system. This monitors the ventilation system constantly, ensuring the right amount of air is both being installed and extracted.
Gas interlock systems automatically shut off the gas if the extraction process fails, thereby protecting the premises against the release of harmful emissions.
Indeed, gas leaks can prove incredibly dangerous, causing a huge amount of damage to the building and putting people’s lives at risk.
This is particularly the case in commercial kitchens where there are lots of open flames. If gas pipework or appliances are not installed properly, or there is a gas leak caused by another reason, the gas in the air could ignite and result in an explosion.
Therefore, having a gas interlock system that turns off the gas automatically if it suspects a problem helps to keep the building and people within it as safe as possible.
Engineers are also involved in installing the appliances required to make a catering business work, including range cookers, pressure and expansion boilers, and instant water heaters.
What’s more, they install solenoid valves, which control the flow of gases. The electronic device works in either a fully-closed or fully-open mode, allowing managers to be in charge of the safe release of gases, turning it off when it would be appropriate to do so.
Before opening for business, it is sensible to have all the gas appliances, pipework and systems tested by a professional commercial gas engineer.
This will ensure they all meet gas safety standards, they are all fully operational, and everything is safe to use.
Making sure everything is tested will give kitchen managers the confidence to start operations, getting chefs doing what they do best and customers through the door.
After the kitchen or mobile catering unit is up and working, it is important to remember the annual inspection needed for an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate.
These are legally required to ensure gas pipes and appliances continue to meet safety standards year in, year out. Without an updated one, companies will find their insurance policies will be void, they could put their staff and customers at serious risk, and they will face a hefty fine and potentially a custodial sentence.
If a business has an out of date Gas Safety Certificate, or Gas Safety Record, as it is sometimes known, it runs the risk that it has faulty gas appliances, which could lead to a gas leak or even an explosion.
When testing new gas networks and appliances, or undertaking the annual inspection, engineers might find repairs are needed.
Solenoid valves may need fixing, the pipework or catering hose need replacing, or equipment needs mending.
Gas engineers should be called out to check the commercial kitchen if anyone smells gas or suspects there might be a gas leak in the building, even if the Commercial Gas Safety inspection is not due yet.
They can ascertain if there is a problem and, if so, what repairs need to be completed for the kitchen to run safely again.
As well as performing repairs to everything connected to the gas mains, engineers are qualified to ensure good maintenance of these appliances.
A commercial kitchen or catering unit that needs to stop work because of a suspected gas leak could lose hundreds, even thousands, of pounds every day it is not operational.
This is because it would be unsafe for it to continue cooking food and accommodating both staff and customers, and subsequently, it would be forced to close.
Therefore, it is considerably more cost-effective to employ professional gas safety engineers to come in for regular maintenance of all the appliances to avoid unnecessary closure.
The serious impact of a commercial kitchen with gas faults
There can be no cost-cutting measures when it comes to gas safety in a commercial kitchen, as the repercussions of not detecting or repairing a gas leak can be catastrophic.
This was shown recently when a barbecue restaurant in China suffered from a huge gas explosion, which resulted in the death of 31 people.
Seven more people were injured during the incident at Fuyang Barbecue Restaurant in Yinchuan in June, the Metro reported.
Over 100 firefighters and 20 emergency vehicles turned up at the site to put out the fire and get people to safety.
Unfortunately, restaurant explosions are regular occurrences in China as their gas safety legislation is not as strict as it is in the UK.
Just eight years ago, Tianjin suffered from a series of explosions, which ended up taking the lives of 173 people.
Closer to home, 100 people were taken to hospital in Chingford for suspected carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after eating at a local Turkish restaurant.
A large Christmas party was taking place at Gokyuzu Chingford on December 21st last year when patrons began to suffer from symptoms of CO poisoning.
Speaking with the press, a spokesperson for Waltham Forest Council said: “A suspect gas appliance has been taken out of use and the council has taken formal action to prohibit its future use.”
Customers who were at the restaurant were reportedly still arriving at the hospital at 0400 the following day, complaining of headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, shortness of breath, or chest and muscle pain.