Grease Extract Ventilation Systems
Compliance with Fire Safety Order
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced major changes to Fire Safety regulations. Fire Authorities are no longer responsible for issuing fire certificates. Companies, as well as individuals, will be made responsible for their own compliance with the legislation. Every organisation will have a duty to mitigate the consequences of any fire and, specifically, to nominate a ‘responsible person’ or ‘persons’, e.g. the employer, the owner or any other person who exercises control over all, or a part of, the premises. The ‘responsible person’ must assess all possible sources of risks of fire in Fire Risk Assessments and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. Failure to comply with the legal requirements to prepare Fire Risk Assessments to protect building occupants from the danger of fire will result in prosecution of the company or organisation and its responsible person(s).
These responsibilities will equally apply to a contractor who is in charge of part of the premises in order to provide a service e.g. a contract caterer. They will need to ensure a Fire Risk Assessment is carried out for the catering facility and this assessment must include the kitchen’s grease extract ventilation system where grease from the cooking operation accumulates in the ducting. This provides a potential fire risk and the catering contractor has a responsibility to ensure appropriate action is taken to eliminate the risk it presents to building occupants.
Compliance with Insurance Requirements
As a result of the escalating costs of compensation for losses arising from major fires and recent court case judgements, Insurers are now including warranties in their policies requiring specific action to be taken to eliminate the fire risks of grease accumulations in the extract ventilation system.
A requirement to have grease extract systems cleaned at least every 6 months is now a standard warranty in the majority of property insurance policies.The U.K’s leading insurer requires “the entire length of all flues and extraction ducting, including extraction motors and fans, are cleaned every six months”. Those who fail to comply with the Fire Safety Order will find their property insurance either impossible to obtain, difficult to renew or invalid in the case of a fire.
General Ventilation (Air Conditioning) System Cleaning
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 5 imposes a duty to clean ventilation systems “as appropriate”. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 imposes a duty of care on every employer to conduct a risk assessment of ventilation systems and sets out the procedures for assessing risk.
The Associated Code of Practice (ACOP) from the Health and Safety Commission requires that all mechanical ventilation systems should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned to ensure elimination of any potentially harmful contaminants which could adversely affect the health of building occupants.
ACOP 22(A) specifically requires that ventilation systems are inspected, tested and maintained at regular intervals, whilst ACOP 33 requires systems to be maintained to ensure they are kept clean and free from anything which might contaminate the ventilated air.
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations require building owners and managers to ensure that enclosed workplaces are ventilated with fresh and purified air and that, where this is provided by a mechanical system, it be regularly maintained, inspected and cleaned and a suitable record kept to support this requirement.