Estimated reading time: 3 mins
It is estimated as many as 70,000 people took time off work last year due to an injury they sustained on the job in a commercial kitchen. As many as one out of five of those workers were out of work for over 31 days because of their accident.
These accidents put a terrible strain on kitchen staff, and are also an incredible financial toll on a business. It is estimated that for every $1 spent on the immediate injury, over $5 are spent on indirect costs relating to that injury, such as accident investigation and compensation.
It is clearly in the best interests of staff and business owners to reduce the amount of accidents that occur in kitchens.
Here are the most common accidents in a commercial kitchen – and how to prevent them.
- Knife Accidents
Let’s begin with the most basic of food related injuries; cuts from knives.
Paradoxically, it is often when a knife is blunt that it causes injuries, because it slips away from the thing it is supposed to be cutting and onto the hands of the individual food preparer. Bizarrely, one of the best ways to reduce knife related accidents is by keeping your knives sharp.
All staff should be trained on how to best use knives. Most good chefs often are, so let them teach the younger, inexperienced staff.
- Trips and Falls
Of all the hazards in a kitchen, it is trips and falls which cause the biggest percentage of work related accidents.
Kitchen floors are often smooth in order to maintain cleanliness, but this surface poses a lot of hazards. The potential for any spillages to cause a trip or fall is increased on uncarpeted surfaces, which kitchens necessarily are.
You can’t rely on rushed food preparation staff to carefully remove all spillages as and when. It is important to employ a figure equivalent to the pot-wash to manage all spillages in the kitchen, to make sure floor areas are clean and dry at all times. This should help to prevent the biggest cause of kitchen accidents in the U.S.
From boiling water and boiling oil to scorching ovens, there’s no shortage of burn risks in a commercial kitchen. In a working environment where heat is so much a part of the process, you are unlikely to eliminate burns. The best you can do is minimise the risks.
An obvious place to start is with numerous oven gloves hung on the handle of every oven. Staff who are in a rush will often forget and go into an over bare-handed, only to injure themselves. Gloves on the door of the oven serve as a visual reminder of best practise.
Lids should be kept on pans of boiling water as often they can be, as with other scalding substances. Make sure your kitchen is designed so hobs are close to sinks, so staff don’t have to carry boiling liquids for large distances.
Further, remind staff to always take it slowly when carrying boiling substances to prevent spillages and serious burns.
Fire is a dangerous presence in a kitchen which is never far away. Fire can not just cause an injury, but it can ruin lives if it gets out of hand; the best-case scenario of most fires is they only damage property.
Fire extinguishers are a must for any kitchen. Staff should be trained on how to use them, and in worse case scenario, the best evacuation procedures.
Chip-pan use and other oil-frying methods should only be carried out by staff who have received the highest training in that area.
All appliances used in a kitchen should be tested, and sockets should never be overcrowded to present flares of power from the mains causing a fire. This is one of the ways you can prevent a secondary risk of fire.
All safe kitchens share one thing in common: well trained staff who prevent accidents. Look at getting your staff food handler certification in Texas to ensure best practise in your kitchen. Staff who are clued up about safety will protect each other- and your business investment.