If you operate a commercial kitchen – especially one with a deep fryer or other cooking equipment that generates vaporized grease – you are no doubt familiar with the challenges and dangers posed by grease buildup. Hopefully, you have a properly installed grease containment system to capture the grease and oils that will flow out of the hood exhaust fan.
Why should you minimize a grease build-up in your restaurant or commercial kitchen? Not doing so can lead to several hazards, including:
Increased risk of fire. Since grease is highly flammable, a build up in your kitchen exhaust system greatly increases the risk of igniting a fire. If this happens, you have to consider the possibility of building damage, financial loss while making repairs and the tragedy of lost lives.
Increased risk of injury. Grease splatters can build up on the floor and increase the risk of employees slipping and falling. If an employee is injured slipping on a greasy floor in your restaurant, he or she can file a complaint with OSHA and claim damages.
Plumbing issues. Grease may be a liquid when it’s heated, but it hardens into a gel when cooled – the last thing you want clogging up your kitchen’s plumbing if disposed of down the drain. Plus, improper disposal of grease is one of the primary causes of sanitary sewer overflows and can result in expensive fines.
Environmental issues. Not having your rooftop grease containment system cleaned regularly could create major environmental issues, such as an overflow into storm drains where it can enter streams and rivers, killing plants and wildlife. Unauthorized discharge of grease is also illegal, subjecting your business to fines under local water pollution control laws established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Vermin infestation. Grease build-up can attract rodents and other pests to your restaurant, creating serious sanitation issues that could result in citations and loss of business.
Keeping up with your grease removal and cleanup activities not only protects your property from fire damage and your employees from danger, but also protects your business from being cited for fire code violations.