Ventilation Compliance

Under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended 1999), there is a legal requirement to undertake a formal fire safety risk assessment and to implement controls where a hazard is identified. Ventilation extraction systems, particularly kitchen grease extract systems, are a high-risk installation in terms of fire safety and the risk assessment should look to ensure that adequate access and an understanding/clarity of ventilation duct routes are documented through schematic plans and also that PPM is in place to monitor system condition along with effective periodic cleaning.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 introduced major changes to Fire Safety regulations. Fire Authorities are no longer responsible for issuing fire certificates. Companies, as well as individuals, are responsible for their own compliance with the legislation. Identified failure to comply with the legal requirements to prepare Fire Risk Assessments to protect building occupants from the danger of fire will result in prosecution of the company or organisation and its responsible person(s).

Under the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all parties. This includes staff and customers. An absence of adequate control renders the business operator liable to criminal action. The absence of an effective system for maintaining ventilation extraction systems could lead to fire and subsequent injury or death of either building occupants or of third parties. Any such event would be likely to result in legal action under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Health & Safety

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 imposes a duty of care on every employer to conduct a risk assessment of ventilation systems and sets out the basic principles for assessing risk.

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations (L24 second edition 2013); require under regulation 6, building owners and managers to ensure that enclosed workplaces are ventilated with fresh and purified air. Regulation 5 imposes a duty to clean ventilation systems “as appropriate“ and ensure they are subject to a suitable system of maintenance.

ACOP 48 states; the air which is introduced should, as far as possible, be free of any impurity which is likely to be offensive or cause ill health.

ACOP 52 states; Mechanical ventilation systems (including air-conditioning systems) should be regularly and adequately cleaned. They should also be properly tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air.

Insurance and compliance

It is common place now for insurers to include clauses within building insurance policies that includes specific actions to be taken to eliminate the risk of fire in kitchen grease extract systems, this is due to the fact that the build-up of grease in the kitchen extract system is a common cause of fire or fire spread in commercial kitchens. If the cleaning regime does not comply with the specific terms of the insurance policy in relation to the kitchen grease extract system, then in the event of a fire associated with the kitchen extract, the subsequent insurance claim is likely to be rejected.