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FIVE MINUTES WITH: Electrolux technical chief André Riphagen on hospital kitchen challenges

Electrolux refrigeration

Caterers working in hospital and care home environments are under enormous pressure at the moment. So what happens if something in their kitchen goes wrong and they need an instant fix? André Riphagen, national technical and quality manager UK & Ireland at Electrolux Professional, explains the sort of measures that manufacturers and their service partners are going to ensure safety for all concerned. 

What sort of challenges are you facing when it comes to sending engineers to hospital and care home sites at the moment? 

As with anyone undertaking work in this current climate, hygiene practices are crucial to the ability of engineers to continue working effectively.

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Our service partners are following all of the government guidelines and ensuring they maintain the ‘two metre’ social distance while on site. They will also make sure they are thoroughly washing their hands when both entering and exiting the premises, following the tightest of hygiene practices.

In what ways have you had to modify your usual processes and protocols for engineers attending and carrying out work at these sites? 

Commercial kitchens tend to be crowded spaces, clearly not conducive to maintaining the ‘two metre’ social distance. Even in normal circumstances we would insist that the immediate work area is cleared and kept clear while our technician attended the piece of equipment on site. In the current circumstances, we are widening the area to comply with the ‘two metre’ rule.

We are also instructing all service personnel to raise safety concerns on site, and if this is not addressed, they should leave immediately and refrain from putting themselves at risk.

It is important to make the site aware of these requirements prior to engineers attending, and ask for their co-operation in getting their equipment repaired as quickly and safely as possible. 

How have you adapted your technical operations to ensure support for hospital or care home kitchens at the moment? 

We have maintained our technical support capabilities, with team members working from home to support the service network where required.

We are also implementing new IT solutions that will further enhance our capability to support remotely, especially on sites where physical access may be difficult. Our technical team members have all been equipped with the necessary PPE to enable them to attend site in person if this is required.

Kitchens within frontline sectors are under more pressure than usual – how much of a concern is that?

As all of Electrolux Professional’s food service equipment is designed to be used in commercial environments, it will continue to perform reliably provided it is appropriately serviced and maintained. Despite the extreme pressure faced in these sectors, commercial kitchen equipment should continue to function as normal.

PPE protocols, temperature checks and wiping down tablets – the new daily rituals of those fixing hospital kitchens during Covid-19

Tags : coronavirusElectroluxengineersin-depthNHS
Andrew Seymour

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