Introduction to this document

Cleaning in kitchens

Although cleaning is traditionally a low-risk activity, in a kitchen environment there are a number of risks present that must be managed to prevent accidents.

Cleaning safely

Risks left unmanaged could potentially put you on the wrong side of the law. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should complete a risk assessment for cleaning in a kitchen, which identifies all “significant” hazards and identifies appropriate “reasonable” ways of reducing risks to an acceptable level.

Cleaning in these areas brings additional hazards and the risk of harm both to people carrying out the cleaning and others should be assessed. To ensure good hygiene levels, all kitchens where food and drink is prepared should be maintained to a high standard. This may mean cleaning using chemical substances in the vicinity of hot equipment such as cookers, toasters, grills, as well as cleaning work surfaces and floors etc.

Managing the risks

To help you identify the hazards associated with kitchen cleanliness and the appropriate ways of controlling them, use our example Risk Assessment - Cleaning in Kitchens. It covers the generic hazards associated with this type of activity and then suggests control measures to reduce risks to an acceptable level.

Note 1. If your staff use cleaning chemicals that have a hazard symbol on the container you will also need to carry out an assessment under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended 2004). It will be beneficial to substitute these substances for less hazardous ones.

Note 2. If you have a larger type kitchen, such as a commercial kitchen, which is equipped with a ducted grease extract system, then you will need to include the regular cleaning of this equipment in your fire risk assessment. We recommend that you utilise the services of a specialist contractor to carry out this work which may be a condition under your company insurance policies.

You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any that could, and more importantly are likely to, cause an accident or injury.

Make your instructions clear

Don’t include activities in your document that simply don’t need to be there. Work to the principle that if there is any chance of your staff being unaware of the safe way of doing something, then you will need to make it clear in your document. Finally, always ensure that any control measures you identify and follow only go so far “as is reasonably practicable”.

Note. The list of potential hazards is not exhaustive. For your risk assessment to be considered suitable and sufficient in the eyes of the law it must accurately reflect the “significant” hazards found in your workplace.