Grease Extract Systems

The law requires that the owner or the responsible person carries out a documented Health & Safety risk assessment each year paying particular attention to potential fire hazards like Grease Extract Systems.

Coupled with this dirty ducts in food processing areas particularly worry Insurance Companies. The perception among them is that the number of fires started due to lack of kitchen extract cleaning have increased. Most of them have now changed their policies to require compliance with the law but more than that they are requiring their clients to have the system cleaned and certified by specialist cleaners.

In more and more cases they are saying your policy requires it and if you haven’t had your extract cleaned you are very probably not insured against fire.

Technical Information for Ventilation Systems

In the UK there is a legal requirement for building owners and managers to inspect and maintain ventilation systems under the Health and Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992.

What The Law Says

Kitchen extract systems are particularly affected by grease and oil deposits from the canopy as no filter can be 100% effective. Under certain circumstances high temperatures or flames can ignite grease deposits causing fire to spread rapidly through the ducting.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 legally requires all buildings to have a Fire Risk Assessment undertaken and to comply with the legislation any identified fire hazard must be minimised, controlled or removed where possible. Additionally FPA insurance guidance and regulations, the Health and Safety Executive, and BSRIA stipulate that kitchen extract systems should be kept clean to minimise fire and other risks.

Quick Guide to Frequency of Cleaning (source TR19 Guidance October 2013)

Level of Grease Production Cleaning Intervals (months)     Maximum Inspection Intervals (months)
Up to 6 hours 6-12 hours 12-16 hours 16+ hours
Low 12 12 6 6 6
Medium 12 6 4 3 3
High 6 3 3 2 2

What The Law Says

The Approved Code of Practice to Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) regulations 1992 requires that any mechanical ventilation systems, including air conditioning systems, which provide fresh air to a building should be regularly and thoroughly cleaned, tested and maintained to ensure they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air and cause health problems.

A quick way of checking whether a duct needs cleaning is to run your finger along the opening of the duct and it collects dust then it probably needs cleaning. Organisations such as the Building Engineering Services Association (B&ES) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) provide information on testing for likely contaminants in ductwork and on cleaning. As an B&ES member, Ingot Services Ltd can also provide you with impartial advice and guidance.

When the system is unable to perform in the way in which it was designed, i.e. to deliver sufficient fresh or purified air, maintenance is then necessary and the ductwork has to be cleaned.

Quick Guide to Frequency of Inspection (source BS EN 15780:2011)

    Cleaning Intervals (months)
Quality class  Typical Examples AHU AIR Filters Humidifiers Ducts Terminals
Low Rooms with only intermittent occupancy e.g. storage rooms, technical rooms 12 12 12 48 48
Medium Offices, hotels, restaurants, residential homes, shopping centres, exhibition buildings, sports buildings, general areas in hospitals and general working areas in industries. 12 12 6 24 24
High Laboratories, treatment areas in hospitals, high quality offices. 12 6 6 12 12