Thousands of catering businesses across the UK are at risk from fires and fines because they are failing to comply with regulations governing the cleaning of kitchen extract ductwork systems - according to the National Association of Air Duct-Cleaners UK which has recently published a technical guidance document outlining how businesses must comply with the regulations.
Every year, numerous prohibition notices are slapped on sites for violation of the relevant regulation EC852. According to the association, of the 24,000 accidental fires per year in commercial properties, around 6000 are attributed to cooking and extraction systems and more than 80% of kitchen extract ducts in the UK are never cleaned.
By following the advice in the NAADUK's technical guidance note NAAD1: 2015, businesses involved in food production, from farms to restaurants, can avoid the costly retro-fit of panels/post-build work to provide access, reduce the number of inaccessible sections of ductwork, avoid the replacement of inaccessible ductwork, reduce the need for more expensive cleaning methods and specialist access equipment, avoid unsafe cleaning methods and work practices, and reduce the likelihood of fires and fines.
Under Regulation EC852/2004, which affects organisations operating in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and which became effective on 1 January 2006, there must be suitable and sufficient means of natural or mechanical ventilation, mechanical airflow from a contaminated area to a clean area must be avoided, and ventilation systems must be constructed so as to enable filters and other parts requiring cleaning or replacement to be readily accessible.
NAADUK's guidance note provides advice on the practicalities behind the term 'readily accessible' which includes 17 examples of constraints to access, their considered resolutions, and the associated implications.
The guidance note includes a three-point test allowing organisations to consider if ductwork is accessible for cleaning and maintenance:
• Can all access panels be removed by an operative without being obstructed?
• Can an operative access all panels - standing on the floor, via a step ladder or tower?
• Can fabrications, fans, inline components be accessed without being moved?
To download the full guidance note visit: www.naaduk.co.uk/pdf/EnforcementregEC852-2004%2023.11.15.pdf.