Businesses warned over carbon monoxide levels using tandoor ovens


Havering Council’s Environmental Health Officers issued 10 notices to commercial food premises in the borough recently, after concerns that solid fuel tandoor ovens were being used unsafely by businesses, potentially exposing their employees and others to high levels of carbon monoxide.

The prohibition notice stops the businesses from using the appliances until they have put the necessary measures in place to prevent such exposure.

Officers were alerted to the unsafe use of a solid fuel tandoor oven in one business after the carbon monoxide detector in a residential property above was set off overnight. 

When the team inspected, they found charcoal had been left in the oven without adequate ventilation, resulting in high levels building up.

Officers will be returning to those businesses to check they have a safe system in place for use of the solid fuel oven or have replaced the ovens with gas appliances and can provide the necessary safety certificates.

They also want to warn other businesses who use the same appliances to check they are operating these safely and that anyone living in residential properties above commercial premises have working carbon monoxide detectors in place.

Tandoor ovens are made of clay or metal and can be insulated with a material such as concrete or mud, with a fire at the bottom. It is used in cooking and baking and can reach temperatures of 480c [900f].

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety, said: 

Our priority is the safety of our residents and visitors when they visit restaurants and food businesses here in the borough. These inspections are very important and our officers can take immediate action as they did on these visits, if they think safety is being compromised. 

However, we don’t just carry out these visits intending to disrupt businesses, we will only take action if we think people’s health and safety is at risk. 

It also allows us to work with the businesses to help them have the necessary measures in place and support them to improve their facilities.”

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