The growth in the number of restaurants in the U.K. has brought with it a corresponding increase in serious restaurant fires. Insurance companies are now frequently refusing cover to restaurants and fast food outlets unless clients meet standard ductwork cleaning procedures, on the grounds that the accumulated losses have grown to be unsustainable.

Grease-contaminated kitchen extract ducts represent an increased fire hazard to properties because of grease accumulation in extract ducts. Fires caused by dirty extract ducts have risen in the past two years from £25million to £65million, according to statistics provided by the Association of British Insurers.

The Health & Safety Executive and Environmental bodies are placing the onus of environmental ventilation hygiene on the Building owner/ Employer to maintain a cleaning regime/register to ensure the employees and general public are provided with clean, uncontaminated air.

Tony Ricciardi, MD at Peterborough-based CK Direct, specialists in ventilation and extraction equipment for commercial kitchens, says: “We all have a duty to safeguard life, property and the environment.”

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, lays down that: –

“Employers and Persons concerned with premises owe the common duty of care both to employees and others who may use or visit the premises”

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