Urgent amendments to wiring regulations in commercial kitchens are necessary following the tragic death of an engineer working on a catering appliance, industry trade bodies have argued.
The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) and Catering Equipment Distributors Association (Ceda) have issued an advisory notice covering the installation and servicing of electrical equipment.
It calls for all new installations of electrical equipment to be protected by an RCD (Residual Current Device) or RCBO (Residual Current Breaker with Overload protection).
The advice also states that these should be specific to each individual appliance, not installed as a general RCD or RCBO on the distribution board.
FEA technical consultant, Nick Oryino, is the chairman of CESRB (Catering Engineers Standards and Registration Board) and he is working with ECA (Electrical Contractor Association) to push for the change to be put into law through the wiring regulations, covered by BS 7671:2018.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has said it will not initiate these changes until the coroner has completed their report, but FEA and Ceda believe the industry should react quickly to protect working engineers.
The initial coroner’s report concluded that the engineer would most probably have survived had the appliance he was working on been protected by an appropriate RCD or RCBO.
“We want HSE to designate commercial kitchens as special places, with extra safety measures to cover electrical installations,” explained Mr Oryino. “For example, similar rules apply in spas to cover saunas.”
The advisory notice cover three main areas:
1. Manufacturers should ensure that their installation instructions require that their appliance is protected by its own RCD or RCBO.
2. Even if the instructions do not suggest this, the advice suggests the appliance should not be commissioned unless it can be verified that RCD or RCBO protection is in place.
3. When servicing or maintaining individual appliances, checks should be made to ensure that they have suitable RCD/RCBO protection. If it is found that the appliance does not have suitable protection, or it cannot be verified that it does, this should be noted on the job record and reported to the responsible person on site.
“I would expect HSE will make the changes to BS 7671:2018 once the coroner’s report is finalised, but these things take time,” added Mr Oryino. “Lives are at risk and we need to move now.”
FEA and CEDA also confirmed that they will be working to update the two associations’ joint Electrical Competency Course to reflect this new guidance.
They have also been in contact with the relevant organisations to request that the requirement for RCDs or RCBOs is incorporated into the IFSE standard for BIM, the BESA SFG20 Equipment Maintenance Schedules, and into design software such as AQ and Specifi.
The Guidance Notice – Electrical Safety in Commercial Kitchens – can be downloaded HERE.