Safety Requirements of Pizza Ovens

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There are state and federal requirements that restaurants have to consider when setting up and maintaining their business. Permits are necessary for construction of a pizza oven and the exhaust system. All construction must comply with the local building codes. In most areas, the pizza oven and the exhaust system will have to pass an inspection before it can be used. Quarterly fire inspections are required once in use.


Pizza ovens cook at 500 degrees. If it is not properly installed, it can cause a fire. There are set clearances that have to be met. There has to be at least a 3-inch clearance between the hood and the ceiling. Air space is required all around the oven and must not be filled in with any insulation. There must be 48 inches between the front of the oven and any walls or a wall shield must be installed. Facing materials must be nonflammable. Brick, marble, ceramic tile and stainless steel may be used.


An exhaust hood must be placed over the oven. The hood has to fit certain measurements depending on your oven. Fire regulations require the hood’s rear wall be protected with a 22-gauge stainless steel insulated panel. Steel baffled grease filters must be at the back of the hood. One removable grease tray and grease container is required. The exhaust duct is vertical. Residential ovens would have a chimney-type exhaust. All areas have to be accessible for inspection and cleaning. Gas ovens have to have air flow built into the design.


For wood-burning ovens the wood should not be kept in the same room. Storage should be in another area, and only a day’s worth of wood in the same room as the pizza oven. The oven can get extremely hot and must be monitored. It should never be over-fired; go over 1000 degrees or have flames shooting out of the door. Keep a fire extinguisher for wood fires near the oven. Only burn seasoned and dry wood. The ashes need to be removed daily and the oven wiped down.


All employees have to be trained on how to properly use and maintain the oven. In wood burning ovens, fire can flare if the door is open suddenly. Personnel need to be instructed in fire safety for all ovens. Wood storage, ventilation, and use of the fire extinguisher are mandatory. Everyone working with or around the oven has to have safety training.

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