• Restaurants: Inspections and Corrective Action Improves Safety

    By Mark Conroy

    Your customers with restaurants want their cooking areas to be safe. Since employee safety is likely their highest priority, offer to provide a safety inspection and make changes that improve safety. Here are some ideas that guarantee an increased level of safety.

    Remove Abandoned Pipe

    Abandoned pipe creates obstructions and surfaces for grease to accumulate. Any abandoned pipe and conduit from previously installed fire-extinguishing systems is required to be removed from hoods, plenums, and exhaust ducts [96:]. Removing the piping and conduit improves safety.

    Plug Remaining Holes

    The holes left behind, when abandoned pipe is removed, are required to be sealed with listed liquid-tight sealing devices [96:]. Many long-standing restaurants have never had this work done. Installing listed plugs in the holes will keep a fire from spreading beyond the protected area.

    Test Automatic Shutdown

    Cooking appliances shut down automatically when a kitchen system operates. During your system inspection, perform a test to make sure this occurs [96: 11.2.2]. Replacing critical components to ensure shutdown will help ensure extinguishment, without re- ignition.

    Check Pull Station Locations

    Every kitchen system is required to have at least one pull station installed 42–48 inches above the floor [17A:]. Also a pull station should be between 10 and 20 feet from each protected hood [17A: A.] and in the path of egress. Make sure you not only test the pull stations but that there are enough of them and they are properly located.

    Add Class K Extinguishers

    Class K fire extinguishers are required to be installed in restaurants. The travel distance from a cooking appliance hazard to an extinguisher cannot exceed 30 ft [10: 6.6.2]. Install additional Class K extinguishers where the travel distance is exceeded by existing extinguisher locations.

    Install Extinguisher Signs

    A sign is required near every Class K extinguisher to tell workers to operate the kitchen system prior to using the fire extinguisher [10:]. Other extinguishers might be hard to see, so signs need to be installed so employees can identify extinguisher locations [10:]. These signs will help workers find extinguishers during fire emergencies. Install additional (or missing) signs to comply with this criterion.

    Performing these basic checks and taking corrective action will help restaurant owners improve fire safety and be in compliance with the fire codes

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    Mark Conroy is an engineer for BHC in our Boston office and a member of the NFPA 10 and 96 Technical Committees.

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    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above Tech Series article are the author’s only and provide limited information. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Brooks Equipment Company, LLC expressly disclaims any warranty with respect to the information and any liability for errors or omissions. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.