Gas Safety Interlock Systems and your Obligations

If you own a restaurant, café or a catering establishment, then you have probably heard of gas interlock systems but probably don’t know much about them, and you may have questions like: how does a gas interlock system work? Why do you need it? What are your legal responsibilities when it comes to gas interlock systems? If you were to install a gas interlock system in your commercial kitchen, what exactly should you do to ensure it works efficiently?

What Is A Gas Interlock System?

A gas interlock system, also referred to as a gas safety interlock system, is a device that provides a failsafe, which helps maintain kitchen safety and reduce gas-related accidents. This device cuts off the gas supply and cannot allow you to turn it on until your kitchen’s ventilation system is on and working effectively. This way, the device helps prevent carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide build-up. These are odorless, toxic gasses that present severe health risks to you, your employees, and customers. A gas interlock system also helps prevent explosions that are normally caused by unburned gases.

How Does A Gas Interlock System Work?

A gas interlock system comes with an inbuilt sensor that monitors airflow and checks whether the fans and duct systems within the ventilation system are operating properly. If the airflow is good and everything is working as it should, the sensor will allow gas to flow to the appliances.

Why Do You Need A Gas Safety Interlock System?

You need a gas safety interlock system for the following five reasons:

Maintaining kitchen safety: You need a gas safety interlock system to ensure you reduce gas-related accidents in your kitchen, which, in turn, ensure that your employees and customers are safe.

Reducing the cost of restaurant insurance: Let’s face it; a good restaurant insurance policy can be expensive. In fact, it can be very costly, particularly if your commercial kitchen is prone to gas-related accidents. Having a gas safety interlock system will help you reduce gas risks and, thereby, enable you to get cheaper restaurant insurance policy.

Compliance with the law: Yes, you heard it right. According to the UK’s gas safety regulations and the British Standard BS6173, any food business operating a commercial kitchen must install a gas safety interlock system. Therefore, you need to have a gas safety interlock system fitted to comply with the law.

Competitive advantage: Even though having a gas safety interlock system is a must for all commercial kitchens, there still food businesses that don't have it. Thus, installing the system will put you ahead of them and give you a competitive advantage.

Protecting your business: Recent research shows that nearly 25% of restaurants are unable to resume business after a gas-related accident. You don’t want this to happen to you, do you? Installing a gas safety interlock system is one way of ensuring your business is protected. It’s also a great way of creating a future-ready food business.

Gas Safety Obligations

Here are your obligations according to the Gas Safety (installation and use regulations) 1998 and the Gas Appliance (safety regulations) 1995.

1. As a commercial kitchen owner, you are required to ensure that all gas appliances, pipework, fuels, as well as safety devices are safe to use and in good working conditions.

2. While the frequency of equipment inspection may vary depending on the type of appliances that you have in your kitchen and their use, the law states that you should ensure that your gas appliances are inspected at least once a year and that repairs are done when necessary.

3. You are also required to ensure that your employees, especially those that operate gas appliances, are well trained on how to use the appliances and how to carry out visual inspections to enable them to identify faults.

4. The people you hire to install your gas appliances should be competent and well trained. Ensure that they are certified. Having a certificate is one way of proving that they passed the GSIUR examination.

Installing a gas safety interlock system in your kitchen is one way of ensuring you comply with these laws. Failure to ensure gas safety in your commercial kitchen results in:

  • Prosecution by HSE (Health and Safety Executive).
  • Closure of your business until you meet all gas safety requirements and install all the required safety systems. This is not only time-consuming but also very expensive.
  • Increased health and safety risks.
  • Heavy fines.
  • Commercial gas safety inspection failure, which could pose a threat to the future of your business.

Health and safety Executive: Ventilation in Catering Kitchens

What To Consider When Choosing A Gas Safety Interlock System

Want to buy a gas safety interlock system? Here is what you should consider.

Performance

First, before you look at anything else, consider the performance. How does it perform? Make sure it works efficiently and is compatible with the gas appliances that you have in your kitchen. You should also take note of the sensor’s efficiency. Make sure the interlock system you choose has a good sensor that will efficiently help you prevent deadly gas leaks.

Does It Meet All Safety Directives?

When buying a gas safety interlock system, you ought to ensure that it meets all a gas safety directives in the United Kingdom and Europe. This way, you will be assured that your business, staff, and clients are safe.

Price

Price is something that you should always consider when buying things. The first step is choosing a supplier offering affordable products. You should avoid cheap gas safety interlock systems because they are inefficient and could pose a significant risk to the future of your business.

Durability

You are in the food sector to make money and can’t afford to buy a gas safety interlock system now and then. Balance durability with cost of different gas safety interlock systems

Who Should Install Or Repair A Gas Safety Interlock System?

These systems can only be installed or repaired by a certified gas safety engineer. It should be noted that it’s illegal for anyone who is unqualified to install or repair a gas safety interlock system. As we mentioned above, always ensure the person you hire to handle your gas appliance, including your gas interlock system, is qualified.

What Should You Do To Ensure Your Gas Safety Interlock System Works Efficiently?

The first thing you should do to ensure your gas safety interlock system works efficiently is to regularly clean and service your ventilation system. This will allow more air to flow in your kitchen and prevent the inconvenience of repeated interlock shutdowns, which are typically caused by inadequate airflow. You should also ensure that the interlock system is well maintained and it is inspected at least once per year by a qualified gas safe engineer.

As the commercial kitchen owner, you should always ensure that your equipment, including your gas appliances, is safe to use. Getting a gas interlock system is one way of ensuring this happens. Make sure the system you choose meets all the current quality standards. You should also ensure that you install other gas safety systems to help make your interlock system more effective. Lastly, it is important to understand that installing an interlock system is not just about meeting legal requirements but also a way of protecting your commercial kitchen, clients, and employees.

Don’t let gas-related accident close your business.

Further Information...

Find out more about us and our products by calling us on 01327 311144 or emailing us at sales@die-pat.co.uk

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