Commercial Cooking Hoods What You Need To Know
When it comes to ensuring restaurant safety, commercial cooking hoods play a critical role. These devices are designed to pull heat, smoke and odor away from cooking surfaces. This, in turn, removes flammable, grease-laden vapors from the air, improving overall air quality and kitchen cleanliness.
However, commercial cooking hoods aren’t without their risks. In fact, without the proper maintenance and cleaning procedures, cooking hoods can accumulate grease. This grease can cause fires if it’s exposed to open flames or high sources of heat, which are common in commercial kitchens.
To address these concerns, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has specific requirements as it relates to the installation and maintenance of commercial cooking hoods. This Risk Insights highlights workplace considerations for commercial cooking hoods and action steps restaurant owners can use to reduce potential fire hazards.
Considerations When Using Commercial Cooking Hoods
Simply put, cooking equipment—like fryers, griddles and ranges—that create smoke or grease-laden vapors must have an exhaust system. What’s more, any hood you utilize must comply with the NFPA 96 standard, which addresses concerns related to the cleanliness of commercial kitchen exhaust systems.
To help meet these standards, it’s important to purchase and install commercial cooking hoods using reputable contractors. In addition, to further mitigate fire risks and remain NFPA-compliant, you must take hood design, cleaning procedures and inspection practices into consideration.
Commercial Cooking Hood Design
Above all, commercial cooking hoods must be sized and configured to capture and remove grease-laden vapors. These hoods should be equipped with a fire damper with a fusible link and protected using an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 300-compliant extinguishing system. Have the extinguishing system inspected every six months and ensure this inspection is documented. It should be noted that cooking equipment listed in accordance with ANSI/UL 197 does not need to be under an exhaust system.
However, restaurants must use cooking hoods equipped with grease-removal devices or filters approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Avoid using mesh filters whenever possible.
Cleaning Practices If you fail to properly clean cooking equipment, grease residue can build up, creating a fire hazard inside of the hood, ductwork and exhaust fan. To reduce or even eliminate this risk, you should have proper cleanup procedures to remove grease deposits. Specifically, the NFPA states that cleaning must be done to remove material to 0.002 inches.
Inspection Procedures for Commercial Cooking Hoods
As part of your cleaning procedures, the NFPA requires regular inspections of your cooking equipment. How often you inspect and clean your equipment will depend largely on the type and volume of cooking operations. The chart below breaks down the cadence of inspections in more detail:
In addition to the above, fusible links in the cooking hood must be replaced at least semiannually. The replacement must be completed by a certified person and documented with a signed tag.
In general, all inspections should be performed by a trained, qualified and certified person. Many restaurants accomplish this by using a third-party vendor for their inspection procedures. After these procedures are completed, you should retain a certification confirming that inspections and cleaning took place. Depending on where your business is located, you may have to submit documentation confirming inspections and maintenance were completed effectively.
Commercial cooking can create significant hazards, particularly if restaurant owners fail to implement the proper workplace controls. By installing properly designed equipment, including hoods, dampers, ducts and extinguishing systems, businesses can reduce their fire hazard risk and focus on providing excellent service.
For more risk management advice, contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today.
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