Have you ever had a fire in your kitchen? Have you ever had a piece of equipment red-tagged? Has this put you in a financial bind, forcing you to make a hard decision?

Marty Olson, District manager – Minneapolis, Smart Care Equipment SolutionsMost of us have run into situations like these. I remember a story from years ago. A restaurant had a broken fryer. As this was an important piece of equipment to the business, the operator called a service company to come and fix it right away. Upon arriving and diagnosing the unit, the service company deemed the fryer unsafe due to a leaking fry pot and possible gas leak. The fryer was red-tagged, shut off and disconnected, per protocol.

It’s hard not to be mad when a situation like this occurs, but it is done to keep people safe. The owner of this restaurant learned this the hard way. The owner deemed the fryer necessary to keep business going and had the staff reconnect it. A few days later, the restaurant burned down due to this unsafe decision. The business was gone as the owners never rebuilt.

Safety First

It’s never an easy decision, but safety should come first. Disasters like this can be avoided by setting up quarterly, monthly or bimonthly gas hose inspection and safety checks on all of your equipment. Leak-checking equipment properly can save you from disaster. Gas hoses deteriorate over time as they get pulled on and exposed to heat in kitchens. An inspection can spot the breakdown of the protective coating on a gas hose. Many business owners have such an inspection in place because of a fire they had in the business. The cost of a gas hose replacement and the inspection is pennies on the dollar compared to damage to the building, and worse yet, possible tragedy. Pilots and burners that are not working properly can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. These are just a few of the potential hazards that routine maintenance and inspections can address.

Safety should always come first and foremost. It’s not only for the safety of employees but for customer and business safety as well. If unsafe repairs are made, businesses stand to lose everything. However, simply promoting and living a safety-first culture in your kitchen can save everyone in the long run. We can all become someone who champions safety for fellow employees, customers and the business. I believe this is an important asset for any business.