Gas interlock systems, or gas safety interlock systems, are an essential Gas Safe device for any commercial kitchen and in almost all installations are either mandatory or strongly recommended. These devices are designed to provide a failsafe system that aids in the maintenance of kitchen safety and accident prevention.
The Interlock device works on a twofold system a) By restricting the flow of gas to appliances until the ventilation system is fully energised, and b) shuts down the flow of gas in the event of ventilation system failure during service.
Gas interlock systems prevent the build-up of hazardous gases and even explosions. They are a key part of keeping your employees safe in the kitchen.
How do Gas Interlock Systems work?
Commercial Kitchen Gas interlock systems work by monitoring the airflow in the kitchen ventilation system through a built-in sensor. This sensor is specifically designed to detect whether the fans and duct systems within the ventilation system are operating properly. If the airflow is being adequately maintained and air supply and extract systems working as they should, the sensor will allow gas to flow to the appliances.
Sensors can also detect levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, two gases that present serious risks to employee health if they are left to build up, and systems will shut off the gas flow to appliances in such circumstances. The system also prevents explosions caused by a build-up of unburned gas.
Why do I need a Gas Interlock System?
If you own a business that is operating a commercial kitchen, you must have a gas interlock system fitted to meet British Standard BS6173 (link https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/cais23.pdf ) and the Gas Safe regulations. If your commercial catering establishment is operating without a gas interlock system, not only are you posing a large health and safety risk to your employees and customers, but you could also be liable for fines or even prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive.
Aside from the safety of employees and customers, there are several other benefits to having gas interlocking systems in the kitchen, such as:
- Reduced insurance costs
- Compliance with the law
- Protecting your business from irreparable damage
What to consider when choosing a Gas Interlock System
The most two important factors when purchasing gas interlock systems are performance and compliance. Before making a purchase, be sure to check that the specific gas interlock system you are looking at is compatible with all your kitchen appliances. Your gas safety system must work with all your gas appliances to be a safe and effective addition to your commercial kitchen.
Who can install or repair a Gas Safety Interlock System?
In the UK, it is illegal for anyone without a gas safety certification to install or repair gas interlock systems. There are specially certified gas safety engineers that can help you with the install or repair of your system. Always make sure the person you hire to handle your gas appliances, including your gas interlock system, is appropriately qualified and gas safe registered.
Maintenance of Gas Interlock Systems
As with any commercial catering equipment, the first form of proper maintenance for gas interlock systems is regular and thorough cleaning of the ventilation system and its mechanical and electrical service maintenance. By keeping it clean and maintaining the system, more air will be able to flow in and around your kitchen, preventing the inconvenience of repeated interlock shutdowns, which are typically caused by inadequate airflow rather than genuine safety risks.
You should also ensure that the interlock system is well maintained. You can do this by scheduling an inspection at least once per year by a qualified gas safe engineer. They will need to check each operating component of the system is working efficiently, including valves, sensors, and pipework.
Regular, planned maintenance is essential to ensure that your gas interlocking system is functioning correctly in line with BS6173 standard. Failure to adequately maintain your gas safety systems could lead to operational issues that prevent the kitchen from working properly.
Gas Safety Obligations
You can find more information on your gas safety obligations as a business owner here.
Here is a brief overview of the requirements you should be meeting:
1. Ensuring that all gas appliances, pipework, fuels, as well as safety devices are safe to use and in good working condition.
2. Schedule gas appliance services and inspections at least once per year.
3. Ensure that your employees, especially those that operate gas appliances, are fully informed on how to safely use the appliances and how to carry out visual inspections to identify any faults.
Failure to comply to gas safety regulations in your commercial kitchen results in prosecution.
For further help and advice about your gas interlock system repairs and installation, or to arrange a routine maintenance check, call Northern Catering Equipment today on 0113 833 1234.