The HSE has published its first specific guidance on the use of solid fuel appliances, in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in commercial kitchens.
Steve Loughton, MD of Josper oven importer, Jestic Foodservice Equipment, welcomed the new guidelines, as he was heavily involved in pushing the HSE to produce them. “As Jestic Foodservice Equipment is a supplier of both Josper charcoal burning ovens and open grills and Woodstone wood fired ovens, we pride ourselves on understanding how to operate both styles of equipment to maximum effect in a totally safe fashion,” he said.
“For these reasons, we welcome the HSE Catering Information Sheet 26 which focuses on safe ventilation of solid fuel appliances. Hitherto, this was a largely misunderstood area of kitchen ventilation requirements and the HSE sheet goes a long way to clarifying the dos and don’ts.
“Our overriding advice to any new or existing customer is to consult a quality ventilation company who has experience in this area and of course we will assist wherever needed.”
The document states that when operators are considering obtaining a solid fuel appliance, they should “seek competent advice on all technical matters relating to installation, ventilation, extraction and maintenance”.
In regards to design, the HSE advises: “Determine whether your flue/extraction system is designed and constructed from suitable material.
“Stainless steel, for example, can withstand the corrosive nature of products released during the combustion of solid fuel. However, many kitchen extraction systems are made from galvanised steel, which is liable to corrosion. This could result in leakage of toxic combustion products, such as carbon monoxide.”
It also suggests the positioning of the appliance should avoid slow moving or stagnant air areas.
However, Loughton believes that the HSE’s advice on monitoring carbon monoxide levels could be a little unclear. He commented: “Whilst the content in this section is not incorrect, it could have been more instructive in terms of explaining the difference between a Natural or LP gas appliance which ceases to produce fumes as soon as it is turned off, and a solid fuel appliance which will continue to produce fumes until the fuel is totally extinguished.
“Also, every establishment should take the opportunity to run the extraction system for say, 1 hour, prior to kitchen operation commencing to clear any remote possibility of remaining fumes. One hour should equal about 40 air changes.”
The information sheet was produced in collaboration with HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme), the Solid Fuel Association and the Hospitality Industry Liaison Forum.