Even small café bars, sandwich outlets or takeaway businesses can be at risk of fire – in fact, the risks can sometimes be even greater than large commercial kitchens. Accidents often result from flare-ups during food preparation in conjunction with oven, hob or electrical and gas connection defects, leading to significant claims under your Café or Takeaway Insurance policy.
Think About Clothing
Appropriate clothing for you and your staff is particularly important. As a general rule, do not wear loose-fitting clothing that could drape into pans and open flames. Your staff handbook should include a section on suitable attire or dress code which includes:
- Tucking shirts in and rolling up your sleeves.
- Long hair should be tied back.
- Avoid using flammable hair products such as hair spray.
Setting out a clear dress code could also help to reduce your liability to potential employers liability losses. Should one of your team suffer an injury, such as a burn, and hold you responsible, you may face a compensation claim.
While such incidents would be covered under the employers’ liability section of your Takeaway Insurance policy, the impact in terms of long term premium increases and employee goodwill, or staff retention, can be significant.
Food Preparation Tips
Consider the follow safety tips when your team are preparing food:
- Keep hot pads, oven gloves and towels away from the hob.
- Use the lowest heat setting possible to cook foods safely and thoroughly.
- Do not place metal or aluminium foil into a microwave oven, as this will cause sparking. If sparks occur with any material put into the microwave, it should be turned off immediately, unplugged and inspected by an electrical expert before being used again.
Appliance Safety Precautions
The following safety precautions will assist in managing your business appliances safely to reduce risk:
- Unplug portable appliances when they are not in use.
- Keep the vent-hood fan on while cooking on a hob.
- Clean spills, grease and messes on the hob and oven immediately.
- Exercise caution when lighting ovens with gas ranges that do not have a self-lighting feature.
- Check hobs, ovens and appliances to make sure they are off at the end of your shift.
Using Deep Fat Fryers
Deep fat fryers cause the largest number of burns for food service workers. Not only can you get a severe burn from cooking or cleaning fryers and vents, but you can also come in contact with hot, splashing oil.
When you use a fryer, always:
- Use the correct grease level and cooking temperature.
- Never put water or ice into the fryer, as this may cause a flare-up.
- Do not overfill the fryer with frozen foods, as oil or grease could splash and bubble over.
- Make sure the floor is completely dry to avoid slipping and burning yourself on the fryer.
- Wear gloves and use a scraper for cleaning. Also, avoid reaching over and/or climbing on top of a fryer to clean it.
In the Event of a Fire
Turn off the gas or electricity fuelling the fire, if you can do so safely. If the fire is in a pan, turn off the hob and cover the pan with a lid. If this does not work, use a fire extinguisher, bicarbonate of soda or fire blanket to put it out.
As part of your fire safety risk management, all employees should know the locations of all fire extinguishers in the café or takeaway and how to operate them correctly as misuse can often worsen the situation.
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