With the holiday season over, the busy time in the kitchen has concluded for most of us. We all have memories of a kitchen filled with pots and pans, food being prepared, and too many family members trying to help out!
Whether at home or in the professional kitchen, the need for multi-tasking can create distractions, leading to hazardous situations. Restaurant fires are a big concern. According to 2018 stats from the U.S. Fire Administration, roughly 5,600 restaurant fires are reported each year, with cooking as the leading cause of incidents.
However, there are many other safety concerns for restaurants that deliver, given the higher number of employees with access to the kitchen. For example, there is an increasing trend in injuries caused by lacerations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports employees at their job for less than three months have a higher proportion of laceration injuries than someone in the same job for five years. Therefore, it’s crucial to stress laceration safety to new hires.
Here are some post-holiday safety tips to reinforce with your employees while working in the kitchen:
- Knives must stay sharp: A well-honed blade can slice through ingredients with less force, which decreases the risk of an employee injury, such as a laceration. Remember to angle the knife away from you!
- Keep chopping boards secure: Chopping boards should not slide or shift during cutting. Put a paper towel or towel under the board and test it before cutting.
- Watch for slippery surfaces: Keep a lookout when walking by pans containing hot water or oil, as the contents may have unnoticeably splattered across the floor. Clean up spills as soon as possible and make sure others are aware of the risk.
- Watch those hot handles: In professional and domestic kitchens, kitchen grips or oven gloves should also be available. Use caution when lifting pans or other hot utensils.
- Back off when lifting lids: Take care to stay back when lifting the lid from a pot or pan of boiling water. Steam will rise quickly creating the potential for injury, so never look directly inside without waiting for the steam to clear first.
- Never wear loose clothing: Wearing loose clothing is the easiest way to accidentally set yourself ablaze in the kitchen. Also, keep long hair tied back.
Above all, apply common sense around safety in the kitchen. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
How well do you know your kitchen safety? Take this quiz to see if you can ace the test.