For the last 3 years Unichef has been quietly working away at a subject that affects every chef in the UK.
It's something that most are not even aware of and some even question its existence, yet Heat Stress is now a major topic of discussion and is now being recognised as a serious workplace issue.
For too many years chefs had had to endure the heat and pressures that modern kitchens create believing that this was normal and that there was little answer to the problem, we just “suck it up “
To look at the causes we need to go back to when UK kitchens were not as they are now. A time when there was no Heated Passes, no undercounter fridge freezers in the kitchen and a 2-3% lower ambient climate then now.
The innovation of the Brands and Gastropubs, meant that kitchen design came last on the thoughts of designers whose prime concern was output and not the Thermal comfort of the employees
The pace of modern kitchens and the escalating cost of prime land means that in the last 30 years kitchens are 50% smaller than they were whilst turning out 100% more volume, requiring chefs too move as little as possible, by having everything at hand, often working in cramped conditions with masses of heat producing machinery.
We take it as normal, but the effects on the body and mind can be extreme and often profoundly serious.
Now organisations such as MIND, The Stroke Association and The Health and Safety Executive are supporting Unichef in their campaign to maximise a safe level of Temperature in UK kitchens.
Our campaign is gathering momentum and 2020 will see us push even further to make employers realise the dangers that extreme of heat can have on their workforce. Last year, Unichef Ambassador Gemma Page published her in-depth study of Heat Stress in Commercial Kitchens and you can read it now by clicking the link button below; note, this is a PDF file, and you will need a PDF file reader to access it.