Using a deep fryer in a commercial kitchen can be a dangerous and daunting task. Fried food is popular in the U.S. and it’s no secret that the deep fryer is a cornerstone of most restaurant kitchens in America. Commercial fryers typically hold around six gallons of piping hot oil at a temperature of 375 degrees, making it immensely important to handle with care.
Whether you are churning out french fries to accompany a burger or fancy crab cakes, it’s important to train and empower employees to operate this dangerous piece of equipment safely.
Here are our top tips for employing proper commercial fryer safety
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings When Using a Commercial Fryer
Rule #1 of working in a commercial kitchen is to always be aware of your surroundings. This becomes even more important when handling boiling hot oil. Always publicly announce when you are maneuvering behind someone or handling hot items by yelling, “behind you.” Remember to be aware of your surroundings and operate with caution in order to practice proper commercial fryer safety.
2. Wear Proper Clothing & Footwear
As with most other positions in a kitchen, wearing proper clothing and footwear is extremely important for operating a commercial fryer safely. It’s important to wear closed-toe and slip-resistant footwear as a fry cook. It’s also advisable to wear tight-fitting kitchen clothes or a uniform made for cooking. Some fry cooks opt to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) items such as oven mitts or arm protectors. Be careful not to impede your motor skills with PPE as it’s important to be able to grab on tight to the fry baskets or tongs.
3. Do Not Overfill the Fryer
Kitchens can be a stressful place to work, especially when the orders start piling up during a busy time. It’s important to resist the urge to overfill the fryer. Be sure to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the amount of oil that the fryer should contain – it is dangerous to overfill or underfill a fryer with oil. Once the oil is added at proper levels, it’s important to avoid overfilling it with food. Overfilling with food will result in a lower quality final product for customers as well as increase the risk of burns to the employee.
4. Install Non-Slip Floor Mats
Keeping your footing while handling hot foods in the kitchen is important. It becomes even more important when you are handling boiling hot oil. Falling or tripping while working a commercial fryer can pose a safety hazard for the rest of the kitchen staff along with the fry cook. Non-slip floor mats combined with proper footwear have become a standard in commercial kitchens in an effort to increase safety and reduce the risk of burns.
5. Keep a Class K Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Anyone who has spent time in a kitchen knows that hot oil can cause fires. The most important detail about oil fires is that they can not be extinguished with water. This crucial detail makes it critical to have a class K fire extinguisher in a nearby and easily accessible location. Class K extinguishers are designed for use on fires involving cooking grease, oils or fats. It is not enough to simply have one on hand, in fact it’s vital that staff is trained on protocols in the event of a kitchen fire. Employee training should ensure that everyone in the kitchen knows how to use the fire extinguisher.
6. Clean your Commercial Fryer Regularly for Safety
Regular maintenance and cleaning is an important safety factor for any kitchen equipment and a commercial fryer is no exception to this rule. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual and closely follow the recommendations. Following regular cleaning procedures will not only increase the safety for employees but also extend the life of your equipment.
Best methods for stopping cooking equipment fires:
7. Consult the Owner’s Manual
While all of the points in this article are recommendations for safely operating a commercial fryer, none of it should replace the notion of closely following the owners manual for the equipment. Manufacturers are legally bound to give sound advice regarding how to properly operate equipment and it is always a good idea to closely adhere to the manual.
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Society Insurance is dedicated to providing industry-leading restaurant and bar insurance. Your business is your livelihood, and we do all we can to help you protect it. Talk to your local Society Insurance agent to discuss your insurance coverage options.