HSE unmoved on solid fuel oven saga

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that its stance on the safety risks of solid fuel appliances remains unchanged following discussions with the industry over the last two months.

HSE opened dialogue with stakeholders from the catering equipment sector to see whether enough is being done to highlight the dangers of appliances such as indoor barbecues and solid fuel stoves.

It took action after being alerted to instances where such devices had not been installed properly or were being used inappropriately, potentially risking exposure to carbon dioxide.

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A spokesman for the HSE confirmed to Catering Insight that it remains firmly of the opinion that those who create the risk must “own” and mitigate against it.

“Following the discussions [in April], we’re now providing support to the duty holders involved here as they produce advice and guidance for end-users,” said the spokesman.

“We’re aware that one major supplier of solid fuel appliances has already provided additional specific practical advice to its customers and more generic guidance will be made available to industry as soon as a full consultation with specialists on the technical aspects has been carried out.”

Until further consultation on the technical aspects of using solid fuel appliances has been completed, HSE is advising caterers to ensure that solid fuel appliances are installed and maintained by a competent person.

“Where there is a risk of carbon monoxide exposure, adequate ventilation must be provided and should remain switched on at all times, until any remaining charcoal, wood or ash etc has been disposed of,” said the spokesman.

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