Cooking with oil

Recently at an MRS site there was a fire that occurred as a direct result of a resident not closely monitoring food being cooked in oil in a pan.

Hazard Alert #5

Please exercise caution when cooking with oil on a stove top or in any electric fry pan or pot. The fire highlighted just how dangerous cooking oil can be.

Cooking oil if overheated will

  • Start to bubble excessively, then
  • Start to send off smoke fumes, then
  • Without warning spontaneously ignite. The fire is intense and is caused by the oil vaporising and igniting. This means that the fire will not be restricted to the pot or pan but will surge up and out almost instantly.

When cooking with oil, please ensure you comply with the following:

  1. Monitor your cooking closely, even turning your back is enough time for a fire to start and get out of control.
  2. Cooking oil that has reached boiling point (bubbling) is very dangerous. If the oil you are using starts to boil, remove it from the heat source immediately. Simply turning the stove off may not be enough to reduce the heat immediately if the appliance you are cooking on is electric. (Hard surface electric cook tops retain heat even after they are turned off.)
  3. Never over-fill your pan with cooking oil. Always make allowances for the amount of oil displaced by the food you are placing in the pan. If you do not make this allowance and your pan is over-filled, oil is likely to flow over the rim of the pan and make contact with the heat source.
  4. Please report any faulty kitchen equipment to the Operations Office immediately.
  5. Please contact the Domestic Operations Office if you wish any personal piece of electrical cooking equipment to be checked by our electrician. There is no charge for this service.
  6. If the oil catches fire:
    1. Use a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket to contain the fire. DO NOT USE WATER.
    2. Follow the Emergency Procedures displayed on the doors of this unit/building.

Document owner: MRS Safety Officer
Document date: 3 January 2023
Date of review: 3 January 2026