Public Health team test Carbon Monoxide levels to protect residents from exposure.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, gas which is lethal and can cause asphyxiation. There have been a number of well publicised deaths from CO exposure in recent years which were attributed to faulty gas heaters, boilers and, somewhat surprisingly, the use of barbeque charcoal in restaurants.
When charcoal cools, CO gasses are produced. These gasses can potentially permeate neighbouring accommodation as well as remain within the restaurant itself, which could have tragic consequences for neighbouring residents and the restaurant’s employees.
CO data loggers fitted
Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “There has been an increase in the use of open barbeque equipment in restaurants around our district and, if CO levels are not monitored, this could pose a significant risk to residents and employees. Mindful of our residents wellbeing, our Public Health Team have undertaken CO sampling in 12 of the districts barbeque restaurants. CO data loggers were fitted in each business over a weekend to establish exposure levels.”
Councillor Will Breare-Hall continued: “Of the 12, most were found to be below the legal workplace exposure limit. 5 were identified as having CO levels with room for improvement. These were swiftly and easily dealt with using simple and cost effective solutions, for example, ensuring doors are kept closed to allow extractors to work efficiently, ensuring extractor systems and filters are kept clean, and making sure that the charcoal is removed at the end of the day and not left overnight. Follow up monitoring was undertaken to confirm that the changes had been effective.”
CO testing is important
Councillor Will Breare-Hall concluded: “CO testing is important because high levels can be so dangerous. We are not trying to catch anyone out, we are simply trying to keep our residents and our restaurants as safe as possible.”
“Following this success, a further project is planned to establish whether restaurants in the district that use Tandoor ovens are operating with safe levels of CO. Tandoor ovens traditionally use charcoal and even though many are now gas fired, officers have found that the current trend is for charcoal fired tandoor ovens.”
Food safety advice
Further information on this project, or any health and safety or food safety advice contact the Public Health Team