Kerry London News

Food Services: Fire Safety Risks

Thursday 19th January
Food Services: Fire Safety Risks

At a glance

  • Legislation requires restaurant/pub owners to have a recorded fire risk assessment of the premises carried out.
  • Your employees should be made aware of risks to them and others, receiving the appropriate training when necessary.
  • Restaurants/Pubs are extremely susceptible to fires caused during cooking.
  • All electrical and heating devices should be properly installed, maintained and operated.

Despite looking similar and being housed in similar buildings, restaurants and pubs carry entirely different fire risks to residential properties.

Even smaller restaurants and pubs will have heating, cooking and electrical equipment on the premises that can cause injury to employees or members of the public.

Therefore it’s worthwhile and in some cases a legal requirement to carry out additional suitable risk assessment checks of your restaurant/pub to ensure that any potential fire hazards are considered and the necessary steps are taken to prevent a potential incident.

Fire risk assessment

There is currently legislation in place that requires restaurant/pub owners to have a recorded fire risk assessment of the premises carried out by or with a competent person. The purpose of this assessment is to outline the necessary actions taken to reduce the risk of injury or death as a result of fire on the premises. The assessment should also cover any and all fire and explosion risks and the protection measures needed. This can include but isn’t limited to:

  • Mandatory installation of emergency lighting as a backup to any artificial lighting, to assist in exiting the premises in an emergency.
  • Informing your employees of the recognised risks to them and others, and ensuring they receive the appropriate training.
  • Installation of suitable fire detection systems in any sleeping accommodation (BS 5839 design category).
  • Allocation of fire extinguishing devices at specified locations.
  • Regular checks on all fire detection and extinguishing equipment.

Your fire risk assessment should be reviewed whenever there are significant changes to the business such as new equipment or additions to the property. By doing so you can avoid missing emerging fire risks.

Food Services: Fire Safety Risks - Kitchen areaKitchen area

Restaurants/Pubs are extremely susceptible to fires caused during cooking. The best way to reduce the risk of a kitchen-based fire is to prioritise regular training, maintenance and cleaning. Ensure that all staff members using the kitchen are aware of how the equipment works and, more importantly, how to turn it off if need be. You should have an easily accessible area where the gas/electricity supply can be turned off in an emergency.

Certain specialist equipment may require particular measures. For example, any deep fat frying equipment should be fitted with temperature override controls. Larger kitchens may also require automatic fire extinguishing systems. At the very least, your kitchen should be equipped with a fire blanket (to BS EN1869) and fire extinguishers that suit your equipment, such as Class F for oil and fat fires. All cooking equipment should be cleaned regularly and grease traps/filters should be cleaned out weekly.

Food Services: Fire Safety Risks - ElectricalsElectrics

There are several reasons why an electrical device becomes a fire hazard: poor installation, faulty materials, and user error can all contribute to a considerable fire hazard. To reduce this likelihood, it’s important to ensure that all electrical devices are properly installed, maintained and operated on the premises.


Similarly to electrical equipment, any heating equipment on your premises to be subject to the proper level of installation, maintenance and operation. If there is any uncertainty, the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed. Heating equipment should also be kept clear and not have additional materials or goods stored against them. Portable heating appliances should be avoided wherever possible. If you have to use portable heating make sure that your insurer or broker is aware. Larger heating appliances should be subject to regular servicing with a qualified heating engineer.

Many restaurants/pubs install patio heaters for evening and low temperatures. It’s imperative that these heaters are only ever used externally, and operated and serviced by trained persons. They shouldn’t be moved when alight and should preferably include a tilt safety shut-off device in case they fall over. They should also be kept clear of any awning or parasols when indicated by the manufacturer.

Food Services: Fire Safety Risks - SmokingSmoking

Despite smoking being illegal in most public-access buildings, there are still potential risks that need to be taken into account. Any smoking shelters outside of your restaurant/pub should be open-sided and at a safe location and distance from the premises – they shouldn’t obstruct windows or doors to your business or be located near any vents. You should also have the correct smoking ban signs at all entrances so that the public are aware.

If your pub or restaurant has sleeping accommodation that allow smoking, there should be ashtrays readily available. Any ash should be disposed of separately from other waste (especially combustible waste) and removed from the premises

External Storage

Waste repositories and externally stored combustibles are a significant fire risk. Not only are they left vacant for long periods, they can also be in close enough proximity to the restaurant/pub property for a fire to spread. Such waste or storage should be disposed of regularly and kept at as low a level as possible, and if possible stored securely. This way the combustibles are less of a target for vandals.

Find out more about Kerry London’s experience sourcing tailored cover for Accommodation and Food Service businesses.

Categories: Risk Insights,

Food Services: Fire Safety Risks - Smoking