Confined Spaces Relevant to Kitchen Exhaust and HVAC Systems

From grease fires to carbon monoxide poisoning, and more, commercial kitchen management has a lot to consider when it comes to safety. Confined spaces are part of kitchen management for any business with a commercial kitchen.

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Grocery Stores
  • Large Apartment Complexes
  • Hospitals
  • Shopping Malls

Confined Spaces Defined

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines confined spaces as those areas that "are not necessarily designed for people." However, they are areas where people may have "to enter and perform certain jobs." These areas, such as "tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.," have the potential for risks that can result in emergencies. Per OSHA, facility management must understand "Permit-Required Confined Spaces."

Commercial Kitchen Confined Spaces

A commercial kitchen encompasses several areas that are confined spaces. As OSHA states, ductwork is a confined space. Per Analox, "the beverage and hospitality industry include cellars, walk-in coolers, commercial refrigerators and freezers," all of which are confined spaces. "Built with limited space and an airtight seal," these confined spaces have the potential risk of harmful carbon monoxide (CO2) poisoning.

Confined Spaces are Small and Large

As Analox explains, confined spaces are not only small, restrictive areas, but they are also any "areas which have a risk of fire or reduced oxygen." Not to mention, "other dangers can include flooding or drowning, or even asphyxiation from another source such as dust, grain, or other contaminants."

A Commercial Kitchen is a Confined Space

Every commercial kitchen is a confined space because of the "risk of fire or reduced oxygen." Sizing up your kitchen space is one of the first tips for setting up the safest guidelines for food prep and employee flow to avoid dangerous mishaps.

The Ductwork of the Kitchen Hood System is a Confined Space

Your kitchen exhaust system has a lot to do with the air quality you and your employees work around every day. Kitchen exhaust cleaning (KEC) should include cleaning of this confined space, and that is why kitchen exhaust systems must be constructed with access panels to allow entrance for proper cleaning.

Requirements for KEC Documentation

According to the "NFPA 96 - Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations," sections 11.6.13 through 11.6.15 covers KEC documentation.

  • 11.6.13 - (page 42) - " When an exhaust cleaning service is used, a certificate showing the name of the servicing company, the name of the person performing the work, and the date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises."
  • 11.6.14 - (page 50) - After cleaning or inspection is completed, the exhaust cleaning company and the person performing the work at the location shall provide the owner of the system with a written report within 7 days, that also specifies areas that were inaccessible or not cleaned. It is the responsibility of the property owner or deligate (sic) to review the exhaust cleaning company report and notify the authority having jurisdiction to identify any inaccessible or not cleaned areas of exhaust system."
  • 11.6.15 - (page 51) - Certificates of inspection and cleaning and reports of areas not cleaned shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction."

Don't Forget HVAC Confined "Ductwork" Space

It's important to have indoor air quality, and that means you don't want to have dirty ducts. Not only is the hood system vital to purifying the air in a commercial kitchen, but also the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is crucial to filter out the air in the kitchen and throughout the building. Large duct systems also require cleaning. Entering these ducts may be the only way to properly clean them.

Maintain Your Confined Spaces to Maintain Indoor Air Quality

When you're looking for the Midwest company that you can partner with to help you maintain your confined "ductwork" spaces, the team at Pronto MS is here to service you. While we offer cost-efficient cleaning solutions for your kitchen exhaust and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) systems, our highly-trained technicians are prompt and get the job done right.