Cooking is fun, but kitchen safety is a priority. Think about it: Knives! Fire! Bacteria! Observing basic rules of kitchen safety is a good habit to develop. Always pay attention to what you’re doing in the kitchen because one slip can cause serious injury or accidents. If you work in a commercial kitchen, food quality and fast service are often the main focus, but without safety, the cuisine and the workers can come up cold.
Home Kitchen Safety
- Store knives in a wooden block or in a drawer. Make sure the knives are out of the reach of children.
- Never cook in loose clothes and keep long hair tied back. You don’t want anything accidentally catching fire (not to mention hair ending up in the food!).
- Never cook while wearing dangling jewelry. A bracelet can get tangled around pot handles.
- Keep potholders nearby and use them! Be careful not to leave them near an open flame.
- Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. Children can’t grab them, and adults can’t bump into them if they’re out of the way.
- Don’t let temperature-sensitive foods sit out in the kitchen. Raw meat, fish, and certain dairy products can spoil quickly, so refrigerate or freeze them right away.
- Wipe up spills immediately. Keep the floor dry so that no one slips and falls.
- Separate raw meat and poultry from other items whenever you use or store them. This precaution avoids cross-contamination of harmful bacteria from one food to another.
- Wash your hands before handling food and after handling meat or poultry. Hands can be a virtual freight train of bacteria.
- Get a fire extinguisher for your kitchen. This device may not do much for your cherries jubilee, but it can avert a disaster. Make sure you know how to use it before a fire breaks out. You can’t waste any time reading the directions amidst the flames.
Commercial Kitchen Safety
A kitchen with good housekeeping can reduce slip and trip hazards. Stored materials should not obstruct pathways and exits. If liquids are spilled on the floor, they should be mopped up and a wet floor warning sign posted. Non-slip floor mats ensure that spills don’t become slips.
Kitchen heat sources such as ovens, grills, range tops, deep fat fryers, and microwaves pose burn hazards. Using caution near hot surfaces, pots and pans, and utensils can prevent burns. Workers should avoid splashing water or drinks into hot oil or grease to prevent spattering. Cooking equipment and vents should be cooled before cleaning them; it is best to clean equipment at the start of a shift.
Other heat sources include boiling water, steam baths, sinks and dish washers. Reaching over boiling pots and hot water sources can lead to severe burns from steam. When opening pots or steam baths, workers should stand to the side and use the lid as a shield.
To prevent fires, workers should monitor cooking food carefully. Hot grease and oil should never be left unattended. Oils and grease should be cooled before transporting them. Grease traps and grill surfaces should be cleaned frequently and flammable items should not be kept near flames or heat sources. It is important to know and practice emergency procedures, first aid, and how to use a fire extinguisher.
Comfortable, supportive shoes are essential for kitchen workers due to long periods of standing; foot rests and anti-fatigue mats can also help. Moving and stretching frequently and rotating tasks can help workers avoid static postures and fatigue. To reduce overreaching, workers should keep their frequently used items closest to them and store seldom used items further away. Proper lifting techniques when moving heavy pots and food items can prevent strains.
Wearing close-fitting sleeves prevents catching them on pot handles, oven and stove knobs, or dangling them in flames or hot oil. Shoes should have cushioned insteps and slip-resistant soles. Aprons provide an added layer of protection from splashes of hot water or grease. Hand mitts and pot holders should be used when handling hot items and hand protection such as mesh gloves may be worn when cutting and using sharp knives.
Read more restaurant business tips and commercial kitchen equipments reviews at Gator Chef EDU Center.