GAS SAFETY - 29.04.2021

Using compressed gases in catering and leisure

The British Compressed Gases Association has published a new guidance document aimed at those who use gas cylinders in the catering and leisure industries. When might you find this useful and what’s covered?

Target audience

The guide covers various ways in which compressed gases could be used, including in cryo-cookery, use in drinks such as cooling, fogging, conditioning, cryo treatment to aid recovery after exercise or injury and more. It doesn’t cover every non-industrial use, for example, the use of gases for cooking and leisure diving is not included as this covered in some detail in other guidance documents. The primary purpose of the British Compressed Gas Association’s latest document Guidance Note 33 The Safe Use of Gases for Leisure and Catering(GN 33) is therefore to fill in some gaps where previously there was very little information on safe usage (see The next step ).

What’s included?

After some definitions and an introduction the document moves on to the general hazards which arise in some compressed gases such as flammability, extreme cold, toxicity and asphyxiation. The latter can occur when a gas is let off in a small space causing oxygen to be displaced. Gas under pressure is one of the hazards listed, and is a common to all compressed gases , as even those held under low pressure can cause an accident if pressure is suddenly released.

Tip. Check off the key risk control measures listed in the second half of page four of the document. These include carrying out a risk assessment, ensuring safe handling and transport and providing training to staff.

Expanding your knowledge

The guide then gives a short summary of each topic listed in its key control measures. These are a good introduction to the subject areas, particularly for those who don’t have a background in UK health and safety requirements. For example, there’s a page on risk assessments and further sections covering: (1) lone working; (2) cylinder handling; (3) storage; (4) transport; (5) disposal; (6) personal protective clothing; (7) information, instruction and training; and (8) emergency planning.

Tip. Even if you have a good understanding of these topics these sections are worth a look. They provide a quick reminder of the issues you must address in your own arrangements.

Best till last

You’re likely to find the most value in the appendices as these have been created to provide specific safety information on different uses of compressed gases in leisure and catering. Each subject has its own appendix, for example the one on cryo-cookery reads like a briefing paper for catering managers. It begins by outlining the risk of using cryogenic gases in cooking and then describes all the factors which need to be taken into account, e.g. their use in close proximity to customers and the suitability of equipment used with the gases. Some of the topics do not have much detail in their appendix, instead cross referencing to other sources of information.

Tip. Don’t be surprised if your gas supplier asks to see evidence that you have implemented the recommendations in this document before it will agree to supply the gases to you.

New guidance covers non-industrial use of compressed gas such as in cookery, stage effects, or balloon filling and provides a good overview of the hazards and management arrangements required. Check off the key points and pay particular attention to the appendices which give more detail on the different types of use.

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