12 Days of Christmas with Carlton Services
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me… A Gas Safe certified engineer to ensure that my commercial kitchen was 100% safe.
Safety is something that should be taken seriously all year round. But with commercial kitchens busier than ever at this time of year, and maximum numbers of both staff and customers in premises, it pays to be extra vigilant.
Inspired by a well known Christmas classic, we’ve prepared a list of 12 tips to help you take a safety conscious approach to Christmas and make sure your festive period is as successful as possible.
1.Check Your Cables
It might seem obvious, but it is essential to regularly check cables and plugs for any signs of excessive wear or damage. A worn through cable can present a risk of electric shock or fire so should never be ignored. A cracked or broken plug is also a risk for electric shock. Not sure? It’s well worth getting a qualified electrical engineer to take a look.
2. Keep Equipment Professionally Serviced
Surprisingly perhaps, many establishments fail to do anything other that the inspections required by law. Whilst a basic check will confirm if a piece of equipment is electrically safe at a given time, it doesn’t guarantee that it is in optimum condition. Getting your equipment regularly serviced by a manufacturer accredited engineer is the best way to keep things as safe as possible – as well as improving your energy efficiency.
3. Mind the Spill
It’s well known that commercial kitchens are hectic places during the festive season, and it is easy to take the “I’ll come back and clean it up” approach. But with so much going on and so many guests to please, it is easy to become unintentionally sidetracked. It only takes a moment for a spillage to become a workplace accident. Another thing to bear in mind is that dry spills – flour, sugar, etc – can be just as dangerous as liquid spills, but are often overlooked.
4. Take Care with Candles
Naturally, guests like to see candlelit tables at Christmas. Unfortunately, they also like to enjoy a beverage or two. Whilst you can’t possibly prepare for every eventuality, it costs nothing to ensure the team stays vigilant. Make sure candles are away from decorations and curtains, and ensure that staff know where to locate fire extinguishers and how to use them.
5. Don’t Overfill it!
When the pressure is on, it’s easy to overfill saucepans, kettles, etc in an effort to get more done more quickly. However, an overfilled vessel is easy to spill and can easily lead to spillages, injuries and burns.
6. Know Your limits
Following on naturally from point 5 – know your limits. No matter how busy things get, it is essential to know your limits and ask for help when it comes to lifting, carrying or moving things. If you are not comfortable, it is better to wait for assistance than risk an accident or injury lifting too much.
7. Mind the Sharps!
A Christmas menu will likely engage every knife available. With meat, veg and deserts all requiring separate blades and different dishes. Handling knives is part of kitchen health and safety, but it can pay to ensure that all staff are up to date with your knife policies and best practice – and are applying it.
8. Keep it Clean
Nobody wants to gain bad publicity by being blamed for food poisoning. Kitchen hygiene is of course paramount at all times, but at busy times like Christmas it is easy to rush washing up and cleaning, increasing the risk of inadvertently spreading germs. If you are using dishwashers, glass washers, etc, then make sure they have been properly serviced to ensure they are cleaning effectively, and ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning interiors, filters etc. Obvious soiling should also be addressed when noticed, rather than left for later.
9. Did you shut the Fridge?
Are you sure you left the refrigerator completely shut? When you are rushing from kitchen to shop floor, it is remarkably easy to leave the fridge door ajar. Not only can this cause spoilage of food, it can also lead to liquid escaping and cause a slip hazard. Encourage staff to take a moment to double check – and if you do identify a repeated problem consider implementing solutions such as a door open alarm.
10. Keep the gas under control
If your kitchen is fully compliant, then you should be fitted with standard features for gas safety. However, you should still remain vigilant for anything out of the ordinary. You should also avoid running gas hobs with a higher than required flame setting, as this can increase the risk of fire. Badly placed towels, napkins etc can also cause a fire risk and care should be taken at busy time.
11. Keep the airways clear
As part of your routine gas safety checks, you should have your ventilation and ducting systems checked annually. However, it is essential to ensure that routine cleaning is done, as well as periodic deep cleaning as required. The London Fire Brigade has reported that a huge proportion of restaurant fires are caused by dirty ducting – nobody wants to become another statistic, so be sure to get your systems regularly checked and cleaned by a qualified service engineer.
12. Don’t Block the Exits
House Red? Check
Mince Pies? Check
Christmas Crackers? Check
Naturally, there are extras that come with organising a Christmas party and all these things require valuable space. No matter how pressed you are for storage, be sure to avoid allowing stock to block fire exits and exit routes.
A Final Word
At Carlton Services, we are fully accredited specialists in all aspects of service for the commercial catering sector, with over 35 years industry experience. Our highly trained engineers have the skills and qualifications to ensure your kitchen runs smoothly and safely all year round, so you can focus on the day to day running with complete peace of mind. Contact Carlton Services to find your nearest service center now and discuss your needs with a friendly member of the team.