Safety first: what’s your policy?


Whether you have a kitchen in place or are in the process of renovating, now’s the time to address your safety policy. We share our advice here…

A busy church kitchen is a wonderful place, but with so many different people using your new kitchen it’s essential to have a solid health and safety policy in place to protect everyone, as well as the church building.

Task a committee to take ownership of the policy
It’s a good idea to appoint a committee to take charge of creating and implementing your new health and safety policy. Try to get a good a mix of people involved, especially those who already have experience of health and safety considerations because of their work background.

This will mean there is a clear plan in place and there will be no confusion as to who is responsible for ensuring the relevant steps are taken.

Plan
Make a plan and create a timeframe to ensure this process is prioritised and not forgotten about. Specify what needs to be done, who will do it, and by what date – and stick to it.

Carry out a Risk Assessment
A Risk Assessment is required by law. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It simply means you must consider all the hazards your new kitchen may pose and work out the best way to minimise them.

After an initial walkthrough of the kitchen, look at each section in detail, and ask those who regularly use the kitchen for different purposes for their feedback.

Fix any issues immediately
After carrying out the Risk Assessment, any obvious hazards must be addressed and fixed as soon as possible by a suitably qualified person. Make this a priority before people start using the kitchen. If there’s a long list of repairs or hazards, it could be time to look at installing a new fit-for-purpose kitchen

Maintenance
Health and safety is not a one-off job. Equipment must be maintained and risks must be continually reviewed to ensure your kitchen is always as safe as it can be.

Keep a logbook of anything that needs to be fixed or replaced and task someone on the committee with making sure that this is kept up to date. A kitchen shouldn’t need a great deal of significant maintenance over the course of a year, aside from thorough cleaning and the odd minor upkeep. If you find your ‘fit it’ list just keeps on growing, it might be time to invest in a more hardy semi-commercial model.

Decide on an acceptable timeframe within which all jobs must be completed and make sure everyone involved is aware of what is expected of them.

Check that everyone knows your policy
Before anyone uses the kitchen they should be made aware of your health and safety policy. Keep a physical copy in the kitchen for reference.

If the church hall is rented to outside parties, ensure they have read and understood the health and safety policy before their event takes place and provide them with a copy.

Dedicate a bit of time to getting your health and safety policy in place early on and it will make running your church kitchen easier and safer.

The experts at Steelplan Kitchens always design kitchens with health and safety in mind. To find out how we can help you, call us on 0844 809 9186.


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