Catering industry safety recommendations, legislation and enforcement…

After explaining that Tower are very busy to my website guy he asked a couple of questions which made me think…

To an outsider (someone who doesn’t make their living in the commercial catering trade and supporting industries such as catering engineers) it seems strange that there is a lag in enforcement activity.

Change happens but only over what can seem like a fairly extended time-frame. First we get recommendations. Approximately 5 years later legislation may be brought in. Then maybe a further 5 years down the line enforcement action kicks in.

To the outsider this seems to be a terribly long lag!

To the catering industry insider the lag is wholly explainable…

…and probably no different to many other industries.

First someone identifies that there may be a better, safer way to do something. This gets reviewed and if seen to be a good idea it is raised as a recommendation. Well informed engineers and others in the trade, who are far sighted, often act on the recommendations as soon as they come out. Of course, if for example the recommendation was about a particular appliance type, if a company wasn’t changing their appliance it would not affect them. Less well informed and/or far-sighted, or maybe less safety conscious people – or even those who don’t like being on the leading edge – won’t make any effort to take notice of the recommendation if there is a cost associated with it. Cost is never the only issue of course. Priorities come into play – back of house rarely has priority over front of house. So, in truth, money has to be earned before it can be spent.

Then, after a period the recommendation becomes law. Again there will be a group who will act as soon as the law comes into effect. Others will wait as long as they possibly can. But, unless the law requires immediate retrosprective action there will probably not be a significant visible uptake.

Then when the leadtime for such change has run its course – the equipment affected is reaching its time for replacement – there will be a more visible uptake.

Due to human nature there will be individuals who continue to delay taking the necessary steps if there is a cost associated and it is at this time that the issue of enforcement becomes more necessary / apparent. In the commercial catering industry, the enforcement bodies are local councils, Health and Safety Inspectors, Food Hygiene Inspectors etc. They are not remiss in checking but by nature of the lifespan of equipment, fittings, kitchens etc there can be a significant delay between new recommendations and the 100% uptake of the relevant technology or process.

Tower Commercial Catering Ltd, Leicester
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