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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Hospitality safety tips for commercial kitchens

Maralyn Kastel - Saturday, June 30, 2012

Commercial kitchens, whether in a restaurant, cafe, hotel or simply a company boardroom have hazards and risks that put workers at risk of accidents and injuries.  Responsibility for work health and safety in all workplaces is not just for management.  It is every worker's role to be involved in identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing risk controls to minimise the number and severity of accidents or incidents occurring.  The following identifies some of the areas to examine in a commercial kitchen.

Reducing and controlling risks 

  • Where possible, use non-flammable water-based chemicals for cleaning.
  • Always follow instructions for safe use and handling found in safety data sheets.  These can be obtained from the chemical supplier. Make sure information is available on the chemical container’s label.
  • Provide information, instruction, training and supervision to workers on the safe use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
  • Store and use flammable chemicals away from ignition sources such as heat and flames.
  • When using flammable chemicals, make sure you have an appropriate fire extinguisher and fire blanket close to the work area and ready to use. Make sure staff know how to use them.
  • Always store chemicals in their original container.
  • Do not use food containers to hold hazardous chemicals.
Quick tip - Fire prevention

An ounce of fire prevention is worth a pound of fire restoration. Make sure cooking appliances are completely free of any materials that could catch fire, including refuse, unused oil, grease buildup and hand towels. In a commercial food service operation,  it is important to make sure that fire suppression systems such as sprinklers are in place, in compliance with local building safety regulations, and are operational at all times. Schedule a reminder to have these systems inspected and tested regularly. Instruct all workers on how to use them.

  • Do routine inspections during opening hours, and before leaving the premisesHazardous substance at the end of the day to make sure all fire hazards have been dealt with.
  • Set up routine cleaning procedures that prevent grease
  • build-up in the exhaust and ventilation systems.
  • Limit storage of combustible materials in and around cooking areas that could contribute to the spread of fire
  • Make sure fire systems are regularly checked and that you have a record of the testing conducted.
  • Make sure your workers are aware of the contents emergency management plan and that it is tested regularly.  

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