Covid-19 has caused a lot of chaos and as a result overshadowed an important development within the foodservice industry, writes David Pedrette of Target Catering Equipment…
The release of BS 6173:2020 – the latest update of the British Standards Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations for gas-fired commercial catering appliances was published at the height of lockdown in March of this year.
The review and renewal has been made as since the release of the British Standards Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations in 2009 it has been recognised that some establishments have been condemned and closed unnecessarily due to equipment failing tests that were not themselves accurate.
Many landlords and foodservice businesses experiencing difficult times may feel the benefit of the new regulations as some kitchens that have previously had to close due to interpretation of the former BS 6173:2009 standards and application of them – implying that kitchens were unsafe and air quality poor or at risk – may now be able to re-open by implementing methodology within BS 6173:2020, due to improved accuracy of newly cited testing procedures.
The new regulations make compliance easier especially if you have gas fired kitchen appliances with an extraction system which incorporates variable speed control fans for the variable ventilation needs of the kitchen.
Complete ventilation systems now may not need completely upgrading, provided that air quality can be risk assessed and proven to be safe by monitoring safe levels of CO2 carbon dioxide and CO carbon monoxide within the kitchen environment. Therefore, it can also provide financial savings for catering establishments all over the UK.
So what is BS 6173:2020 about?
This British Standard covers the safe installation, servicing and maintenance of new and previously-used gas fired commercial catering appliances that burn 2nd or 3rd family gases (i.e. natural gas and LPG respectively).
BS 6173:2020 applies to catering equipment such as commercial cookers, fish and chip frying ranges, fryers, ovens, café boilers and urns, bain-marie units, tandoori ovens, kebab grills and barbecues.
At Target, we believe gas in commercial kitchens is still an issue and all electric, energy efficient kitchens are the way forward for users and operators to save money and make for a better, safer working environment.
With electric equipment you can remove the issue of harmful by-products of combustion out of the kitchen, but with gas, a naked flame, there is always going to be a source of fire which comes with serious risks, not to mention the potential for explosions associated with faulty gas equipment.
So, for those still battling on with gas appliances, ventilation requirement risk assessments have eased but for those wanting to enjoy the full benefit of modern cooking technology, the future really is renewable resource, electric powered equipment.
The gas dinosaurs will eventually die out but will live to fight another day coming out of Covid-19 with the latest BS 6173:2020 – British Standard Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations of 2020.
David Pedrette is managing director of Target Catering Equipment, a leading kitchen design and commercial catering equipment supplier. www.targetcatering.co.uk