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Commercial Kitchen Refurbishment – The Health and Safety Aspect
  • Commercial Kitchen Refurbishment – The Health and Safety Aspect

Commercial Kitchen Refurbishment – The Health and Safety Aspect

Commercial Kitchen Refurbishment – The Health and Safety Aspect

In the commercial catering sector, refurbishment is often a continuous and on-going process; as a business develops so does its needs and capacities. The establishment might simply expand its customer through-flow or it might develop new areas to appeal to a different customer demographic. Whatever the reasons, this in practice means that a kitchen must change to meet the business’s needs. The process of refurbishment must be carefully monitored by the appropriate management staff and these staff must take into account one of the most important factors in modern business practice, which to say Health and Safety requirements.

The first point to note is that the owners are wholly responsible for the state of their kitchen and thus for the physical well-being of their customers. It therefore behoves them to liaise closely with the designers and installers who will work for them in the refurbishment process. The sensible proprietor will choose to employ a specialist in commercial kitchen supply and design and also a reputable supplier of commercial kitchen equipment whenever he or she feels that refurbishment is necessary. These strictures apply to those who operate kitchens for hotels and kitchens for schools as well as those who run kitchens for restaurants. 

If the proprietor does select an expert company to action the refurbishment then he or she can be sure that the relevant Health and Safety imperatives will be factored into the build, along with Hazard Analysis and Management which will identify the kitchen’s critical points. The head chef in a well- run kitchen will know where these critical points are, but a refurbishment could lead to critical points being displaced or to new critical points being created. Specialist designers will be able to predict these changes and illustrate them to the owner, perhaps using one of the ‘virtual kitchen’ walk-throughs which have become popular.  

Another problem which can be avoided, if specialist designers and suppliers are involved, is the important matter of the flow of product. Here again the sensible owner will use the available technology to avoid mistakes which could impact on the kitchen’s future health and safety rating. Particular care should be taken in big city establishments where the food preparation space is limited and where the introduction of new equipment during refurbishment can disturb the food flow, perhaps leading to adverse Health and Safety consequences. The owner should not put convenience before Health and Safety, no matter how attractive it may seem in the short term. Again, the owner will be assisted greatly if he or she employs reputable and expert suppliers and designers.

Another important factor to bear in mind when refurbishment is being planned are the matters of ventilation and lighting. The proprietor will not need to be told that it is important to maintain the correct temperature in the food preparation area or that it should be lit so that the staff can go about their work safely. What the proprietor does need to remember is that refurbishment can impact seriously on existing systems. Again this is a problem that can be contained by careful pre-planning with the assistance of a reputable supplier and designer.


posted on 10 September, 2013
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