Draining deep fryers – essential safety information

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

Oil or fat may need to be drained from free standing or bench-top fryers for filtering, cleaning or disposal.  Risk factors associated with draining deep fryers include:

  • burns from either hot oil or contact with hot surfaces;
  • slips from spilt oil or wet floors;
  • manual task injuries from moving or lifting heavy oil containers;
  • eye injuries from chemicals or hot oil splashes;
  • fumes from boiling cleaning chemicals; and
  • fire from oil in the vicinity of ignition sources, such as open flames.


  • Perform a risk assessment for the task of operating and draining deep fryers.
  • Develop safe work procedures for the operation and cleaning of the deep fryer, including temperatures when operating and draining the oil.
  • Refer to manufacturer’s instructions and use recommended accessories.
  • When manually draining or filtering the oil, ensure the oil has been cooled to 40ºC or below. Drain and clean fryers, if cool, as the first job of the day or clean fryers in rotation.  If the oil is too cold to drain easily, reheat it briefly and check the temperature before draining.
  • Ensure the fryer is well maintained and a process has been established to report faults.
  • Provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Check the safety data sheet of the cleaning chemical for the appropriate PPE.
  • Locate the fryer more than 200mm away from any open flame, griller, smooth plate or other ignition source, unless a baffle extending 200mm above the top of the fryer is in place.

The essentials

  • Turn off the deep fryer and the power supply (electric or gas) prior to draining the oil.
  • Always allow the oil to cool down. Do not drain oil when the temperature is 40oC or more.
  • Ensure only trained workers drain and clean the deep fryer.
  • Check the filter or filtration bin are clean and replace filters as required.
  • Only use an oil cart or a suitable heat resistant ridged container or pot with lid or cover and carrying handles.  Use small containers or pots as these are easier to carry and reduce the risk of manual task injuries. Fill containers or pots half full as this will reduce the weight and the risk of spillages when moving the oil.
  • Before moving, make sure that the lid or cover is secure.
  • Ensure all spills are cleaned up immediately and the work area is dry and free from oil.
  • Ensure the area around the oil disposal drum and the filter are kept clean.
  • If practicable, use an enclosed system for draining and filtering oil.

Train staff in

  • Safe work procedures for operating, draining or cleaning deep fryers.
  • Correct use of cleaning chemicals, including the use of appropriate PPE.
  • Cleaning up any spillages immediately.
  • First aid and emergency procedures.
  • Reporting procedure for equipment faults or hazards. 
Fact sheet
Last updated 31 May 2017

Last modified: