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Fire and leaking gas

Fire and leaking gas pose a risk in the kitchen. Emergency procedures should be in place and tested from time to time as workers need to know how to respond in an emergency.

Tips

  • Stay calm.
  • Follow the warden’s instructions during an emergency.
  • Know where the emergency exits are.

Potential harm

  • Burns
  • Smoke or gas inhalation

Identified hazards and controls

Fire

Cause

  • Burning foods that are not dealt with immediately.
  • Faulty electrical appliances.

What workers can do

  • Attempt to extinguish the fire if it is just starting, with an extinguisher or fire blanket. Fire blankets are best for extinguishing oil-based fires by smothering the flames.
  • Activate the fire alarm.

What employers can do

  • Provide a fire blanket and suitable extinguisher in a prominent position.

    Which fire extinguisher to use?

    There are different types of fire extinguishers:
    • Water based fire extinguishers are filled with pressurised water to put out combustible fires originating from wood or paper.
    • Dry chemical fire extinguishers are filled with a dry chemical that smothers fires originating from gas or oil. Water will not put out these fires and can make them worse.
    • Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers are used to extinguish electrical fires.
    • Powder fire extinguishers can be used for both fat and oil fires as well as electrical fires (Source: Fire Safety).
  • Display simple brief instructions on how to use a fire blanket to smother flames from burning fat or oil.
  • Display simple instructions on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Check that extinguishers have been tested and are affixed with tags.
  • Display the phone number to call for assistance and to alert emergency services should they be required.

Leaking gas

Cause

  • Gas appliances are faulty or not maintained.
  • Leaking gas explodes or the fumes can overcome workers in proximity of leak.

What workers can do

  • Report any odour of gas. Some gases are odourless and so an odorant is often added, like Ethyl Mercaptan, which smells like rotten cabbage, to make it more detectable.
  • Take care when using older gas-fired or poorly serviced appliances. If you smell a different or unusual odour, immediately shut off the appliance and leave the room.

What employers can do

  • Ensure gas equipment and appliances are regularly checked and maintained.
  • Develop procedures for dealing with gas leakage in the workplace, including shutting off gas supply and venting gas affected areas.
  • Have clear emergency and evacuation procedures that are regularly tested.

More information

Legislation

  • Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
    • Refer to part 4.7, division 3 Electrical equipment and electrical installations.
    • Refer to part 3.2, division 4, regulation 43 Emergency plans which outlines the duty to have an emergency plan in place for the workplace. It provides specific matters that must be included, such as an effective response to an emergency, evacuation procedures, notification to emergency services, medical assistance, clear and effective communication, testing of procedures, and information and training.

Codes

  • Managing the Work Environment and Facilities Code of Practice 2015
    • Section 5 Emergency plans outlines what is required to meet the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 43.
    • Section 5.1 details that emergency procedures should ensure that roles and responsibilities for specific actions in an emergency are clearly allocated and to people with appropriate skills. The example used is the appointment of an ‘area warden’.
    • Appendix A provides a Work Environment and Facilities checklist for emergency plans.
Page last reviewed: 09 May 2021

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 26 Jun 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/spaces/kitchens/fire-and-leaking-gas