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Clean, legionella-free water and fire-safe kitchen extract ductwork are essential for the health and safety of staff, residents and guests at holiday resorts.
Clean, legionella-free water
Every holiday park or resort must have an up-to-date Legionella Risk Assessment and management plan. This is not only a legal responsibility, but also a critical health and safety precaution for everyone who uses your water system. Legionella bacteria, on entering a water system, can proliferate in pipework, water heaters and storage tanks, especially in any areas where the water does not move freely. It is a particular risk if the water temperature becomes raised due to solar gain or in facilities such as swimming and spa pools. Microscopic legionella bacteria can be inhaled when tiny droplets are created through splashing or steam. This strain of bacteria causes the illness known as Legionnaire`s Disease, which is a `flu-like illness. Debilitating for those with robust health, it can prove fatal for those with underlying health conditions. Sadly, approximately 12% of those who contract Legionnaire`s Disease each year die as a result.
As this is such a serious public health risk, your water management plan must comply with the Legionella code of conduct known as L8, which is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. The L8 along with the Health and Safety Guidance (HSG274) explains the measures that must be taken to ensure that the conditions in which Legionella can proliferate are avoided.
These, in a nutshell, are tepid, static water.
Part of your water management plan should be to ensure there are no `dead-legs` in your water system. These are areas of pipe work in which the water sits but does not flow freely, and these usually occur when a water system has been altered.
In a holiday park, with entire units being added or removed, pipework being altered can be a fairly regular occurrence. It is essential that whenever you alter your pipework significantly, you also update your Legionella Risk Assessment. Dead-legs must be removed so that water can flow freely throughout the water system and prevent stagnation.
Many holiday parks also offer camping facilities with shower blocks, toilets and standpipes. These are generally used only seasonally, and are therefore prone to the other potential Legionella risk for holiday parks - long periods of non-occupancy. Should any of your units, swimming pools or camping facilities be unused or unoccupied for more than one week, you should take proactive precautions against Legionella. Each water outlet should be carefully flushed, while avoiding splashing and the creation of airborne water droplets. Shower heads should be placed in a bucket of water so that the head can be flushed through safely without spray. Taps are also best flushed placing a plastic bag over the tap outlet to reduce spray, while toilets should be flushed with the lid closed.
Water storage tanks also need care. These should be inspected annually and cleaned if required. Storage tanks should be securely covered to prevent the ingress of pests such as rodents, birds, or insects. Tanks also need to be sufficiently screened and protected against solar gain, which can cause an unhealthy rise in temperature during the summer months.
An outbreak of Legionella can carry severe legal penalties. Should there be an outbreak of Legionnaire`s disease, especially one which results in a fatality, individuals as well as organisations can be prosecuted for negligence. Unlimited fines can be imposed on organisations, while individuals, if convicted of negligence, can face custodial sentences.
If you are in any doubt about whether your risk assessment should be updated, you should seek advice from an expert. Your chosen Legionella services provider should be a member of the LCA and have a proven track record in the industry.
At Swiftclean, we specialise in helping clients to maintain best practice and a healthy water system. We can provide remedial works, make sure that your risk assessment is current and help you to monitor the health of your system in the longer term. We work discreetly and can provide teams during your low season, or overnight in an emergency, so your smooth running is not affected wherever possible.
Please call us for free advice or a free site survey on 0800 243 471 or email email@example.com.
Clean kitchen ductwork
The restaurant or café is the heart of the holiday park. Often the hub of its social life, this facility is generally kept very busy providing food and drink for those enjoying their holiday, and this means some heavy use for the commercial kitchens.
Kitchen hygiene on worktops and equipment is, of course, essential, but just as important is the legal duty to keep the grease layer in the kitchen extract ductwork under control. Again, this is an essential health and safety task which carries legal duties. While it is obvious that grease must be controlled for hygiene reasons and to discourage infestations by cockroaches etc, proprietors are often less aware of the fire safety risks associated with grease. Even the healthiest menu causes airborne fat, oil and grease droplets to be formed. These are filtered out of the kitchen atmosphere by the extraction system. Once in the extract ductwork, this hot, expelled kitchen air cools, depositing grease particles on the surface of the ductwork. As this layer builds up, it represents a serious fire risk.
The leading guidance document for kitchen extract ductwork hygiene is the TR19® Grease Specification, which is issued by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). This sets out the intervals at which extract ductwork should be cleaned to remove the grease layer, according to how frequently and how heavily it is used.
People often assume that the grease layer must be very thick to pose a fire hazard, but in fact, TR19® Grease specifies that the grease layer must be controlled to within an average layer of no more than 200 microns. This is roughly half the thickness of a standard business card. Any more than this relatively thin layer and you have a serious potential fire risk.
Should a fire occur in the kitchen and reach the ductwork, an uncontrolled grease layer will act as fuel, spreading the fire and carrying it well beyond the kitchen. The ductwork itself, should fire enter it, will act like a chimney, spreading the fire to other parts of the building, including dining areas, offices and even adjacent accommodation. Ductwork is often routed upwards to expel hot, grease-laden air to the outside, so unfortunately, fire spreading through a non-compliant, uncleaned system will often cause severe damage to the roof and any upper floors.
A non-compliant kitchen extract system can also give you some serious legal consequences. If a fire does occur and the ductwork is found to be non-compliant, you could be charged with negligence, especially if the fire has resulted in personal injury or fatalities.
You may also find that your buildings insurance will not pay out if your kitchen extract system was non-compliant. An increasing number of insurance providers, quite understandably, are making it very clear that in order to enjoy coverage, you must comply with all your legal duties. Therefore, a breach of TR19® Grease requirements will signal to them that you have not fulfilled your part in the contract, and this may compromise your insurance. Not only will there be no pay out towards repairs, it may also prove extremely difficult to secure insurance cover for the future. This, in turn, could make operating at all extremely challenging, if not impossible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly thrown a lot more confusion into the mix. With dining facilities closing, reopening, closing, then reopening again but under a Tier system, knowing when to clean your kitchen extract ductwork has become a more challenging problem.
When in doubt, please seek the help of an expert like Swiftclean. We certificate our work through the BESA Vent Hygiene Elite Group which is mandatory to do to comply with the specification, and our long experience in helping clients to comply with TR19® Grease ensures that we are best placed to understand what you should do - and when - in order to comply.
We actually helped to draft the TR19® Grease specification in order to ensure that it was delivering safety, while being practical and workable for the commercial business. We understand the complexities of running a catering business and can work out of hours to maximise your downtime, helping you to maximise your commercial opportunities.
If you are in any doubt, please call us on 0800 243 471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to advise you how best to ensure your safety and compliance.
Tel: 0800 243 471