The result of kitchen hazards can range from minor injuries to serious medical emergencies. Some hazards can be removed through proper habits, while others are a natural part of a kitchen that can only be avoided through training and being careful. If you work in a kitchen either at home or at a restaurant, you need to be aware of the hazards to look out for. Keep reading and learn about how to maintain health and safety in the kitchen.
Kitchen Hazards to Watch out For
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does cover the common hazards that can be found in every single kitchen. It’s important for everyone who steps foot in a kitchen to know what to look out for and what to do if the worst happens. These hazards happen often and chances are good that you’ve dealt with at least one of them, in a minor way.
1. Slip and Fall
In an area with constant sink usage and cooking of liquids and oil, the floor is going to get slippery. Regular mopping and anti-slip mats are the best way to prevent falls. Slip-resistant shoes are also recommended.
Easily one of the most common injuries in a kitchen, burns are painful and sometimes require serious medical attention. Always place pan and pot handles away from burners, and assume that every surface hot to the touch to help avoid injury. Areas that people don’t always expect to get burned from include the dishwasher. Especially in a restaurant kitchen, dishwashers can produce an enormous amount of steam that’ll burn just as badly as an open flame.
3. Broken Glass
If you’ve ever dropped a glass or had a glass pan shatter after being left on top of a stove, you know that small glass fragments go everywhere. You must be very diligent when cleaning up the glass and if there’s any open food, it must be discarded. Broken glass can find its way onto the floor, into food and onto other dishes. Handle glass with care, as it can lead to a horrible situation if it’s ingested.
A chef’s primary tool is their knife, and even the most skilled will sometimes cut themselves. Properly sharpen knives, as a dull knife can slip instead of properly cutting a piece of meat or vegetables. This can create a harsh wound in your hand. Knives aren’t the only kitchen tools that can cause cuts. You can suffer injuries from aluminum cans and cleaning complex appliances.
5. Overloaded Circuits
Kitchen gadgets are awesome, and appliances like stand mixers can make life a lot easier, but be very careful with how many items you’ve got plugged in at a time. Having a microwave, mixer, coffee maker and instant pot all going at once is a recipe for an electrical fire. If you have old outlets in your kitchen, consider having them replaced with newer circuits that have safety mechanisms built-in. It’s an investment that can seriously pay off in the future.
6. Loose Clothes and Hair
Speaking of mixers, hair and clothes should always be secured. It takes a split second for an appliance to grab a piece of hair or clothing, leading to a severe injury that’ll put you or someone else in an ambulance. It’s also important from a food safety perspective to keep hair tied back or covered, and clothes clean and away from food.
7. Dirty Sponges
It can be easy to grab the nearest sponge when you need to clean a counter or something else in the kitchen. Unfortunately, they hold a lot of harmful bacteria that you may be spreading instead of cleaning. Replace sponges regularly, and when in doubt, use a fresh one. Anytime you’re cleaning a surface that had raw food on it, any cleaning material used (like sponges or rags) should be disposed of or cleaned immediately.
Fires in the kitchen are something you should always be prepared for. Whether it’s a pan that got too hot and ignited the oil, or an overloaded circuit, you should know where the extinguisher is and how to use it. You should also know when not to use the extinguisher. The results of kitchen hazards can range from minor injuries to serious medical emergencies. Some hazards can be avoided with proper habits, while others are a natural part of working in a kitchen that can only be avoided through training and being careful. If you work in a kitchen, either at home or at a restaurant, you need to be aware of the hazards to look out for. Keep reading and learn about how to maintain health and safety in the kitchen.
9. Storing Food
Food should always be stored safely and properly. Wasting food is less than ideal, so you should definitely store any unused items for later use, but make sure you do it the right way. Improper food storage can spread bacteria and viruses to other food, causing a chain reaction that can get a lot of people sick.
While natural and organic cleaners are best, there will be some chemicals used when cleaning a kitchen. Always read the safety labels on all chemicals and clean surfaces properly, according to the directions. It’s not just cleaners that can contain chemicals. Be aware of everything that’s flammable in the kitchen, and be sure to keep them away from open flames or heating elements.
11. Thawing Food
Food should never simply be left on the counter while thawing. It’s an invitation for bacteria to attach itself to the food, leading to serious sickness that can hospitalize you and possibly turn deadly. If you work in a restaurant, you should follow all guidelines since you have a duty to keep your patrons safe and healthy when eating your food.
How do you prevent accidents in the kitchen? Being aware of kitchen hazards is key and the first thing that should be taught. If you and others respect the kitchen and the tools that are used, it will reduce the chances of anything bad happening. Keep fire extinguishers nearby and inspected by professionals. Make sure knives are sharp and all cooking surfaces are clean. Finally, keep first aid kits in the kitchen and train people on how to use them.
In case of emergency, or to get your kitchen exhaust cleaned, contact the professionals today.