You’ve developed your HACCP plan and gone over food safety practices, but have you checked to make sure that your commercial kitchen extractor isn’t letting you down when it comes to fire safety standards? If you haven’t recently scheduled a canopy inspection or extractor cleaning, you could quickly be heading for disaster.

As you use your equipment, grease and food particles can build up in your kitchen’s ventilation system. If you aren’t cleaning the extractor regularly, then you’re not just increasing the risk of a kitchen fire – you’re also failing to meet the standards set out in Section 7 of HVCA TR19, which states that the extractor ductwork and ventilation in commercial kitchens needs to be cleaned according to a specific schedule to prevent the risk of fire:

    • Heavy Use (12-16 hours a day): every three months
    • Moderate Use (6-12 hours a day): every six months
    • Light Use (2-6 hours a day): every twelve months

It’s not just TR19 standards you need to consider; failing to remove grease and oil deposits from your extractor can also constitute a violation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which requires you to take proper precautions to keep your premises safe against fire. This includes performing preventative maintenance as well as identifying potential fire risks – and your extractor can definitely become one if you don’t regularly service it.

If an inspection finds that you’re not meeting regulations and that your extractor is in an unsafe condition, your kitchen could be closed, and you could face steep fines, prosecution and even time in prison.

If a fire occurs due to inadequate extractor cleaning and there are significant injuries, or even loss of life, you could be held legally responsible. Insurers are also increasingly demanding proof of extractor cleaning from their customers, and failing to meet these requirements could invalidate your property insurance policy.

By having an engineer carry out an extractor cleaning in your commercial kitchen, you can ensure that you are meeting fire safety standards and following the guidelines set out in HVCA TR19. This will keep you on the right side of the law, protect you from loss of revenue and guard your premises against the risk of a fire – or a shutdown ordered by inspectors.