Whether you are working in a commercial kitchen or simply whipping up some snack for the family, the kitchen is a dynamic place – fun, creative, and sometimes a bit of pressure. However records from hospital emergency departments around the world indicate that the kitchen is one of the most common places where accidents occur.
In this article we take a look at some of the most common accidents that happen in the kitchen environment, and the steps that you can take to minimize your risks and the chances of injury.
If you can’t stand the heat
Burns are one of the most common injuries suffered in the kitchen environment, and it is easy to see why.
Generally, the most common type of burn-related accident is caused by unattended cooking. It is common sense to stay in the kitchen and monitor the stovetop whenever you are cooking – frying, grilling, roasting are all techniques that involve heat and if you are not there to keep an eye on it then things can quickly get out of control.
It is also important that you minimize the risk of anything catching fire in the kitchen while you are cooking – flammable items such as clothing, oven mitts, paper, and plastic should all be kept at a safe distance from any naked flames or heat sources. Keeping your kitchen clean and tidy can also help minimize the risk of burn injuries – keep a clear workspace to avoid knocking anything over while you are cooking.
Contact burns are another risk to be aware of. Use oven mitts when handling hot dishes or checking items in the oven. Slide oven trays out so that you can safely check items without having to reach in. Wooden spoons are generally safer as they won’t conduct heat.
You can also seriously burn yourself on the food itself – hot food can quickly scald you while you are cooking or preparing a meal. Use the back burners on your stovetop so that you are working at a safe distance. Be aware of saucepan handles, turning them into a safe position so that they are not easily knocked over. Use an oven mitt or potholder when removing saucepan lids. Be careful when heating oil – adding liquids to hot oil can cause the oil to splatter.
Spills on the floor of a kitchen are a real hazard. Make sure that you are wearing sturdy, sensible shoes and that any spills are quickly cleaned up. Also be careful when reaching for things on high shelves – use a sturdy step ladder to ensure that you don’t lose your balance when reaching overhead.
Follow the safety instructions on equipment
We all know that sharp knives have to used with care, but what about other equipment in your kitchen? Blenders have sharp chopping blades that can quickly damage your fingers; slicers such as a Berkel slicer need to be used with the right safety guards in place to avoid thinly slicing your hands; and vegetable grates can quickly take the skin off your knuckles.
Embrace your inner celebrity chef and let loose in the kitchen – just make sure you do it safely.