01/12/2022

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Photo of the day: Preventing Common Kitchen Hazards

10 min read

Presenting good food is not the sole purpose of a kitchen. A good kitchen must also be kept clean and safe. A clean and safe kitchen means happy diners and staff who can return home safely after work every day.

This Kitchen Safety Poster highlights the common hazards of working in a kitchen to help you ensure that good practices are in place for critical activities such as handling sharp objects. We would also like to encourage you to put up this poster to remind your staff of the dire consequence of unsafe acts.

Also, Read: Food and Kitchen Hygiene Tips

Photo of the day: Preventing Common Kitchen Hazards

Common Kitchen Hazards

Unattended hazards in the kitchen can often result in accidents. These accidents include slips, trips, and falls (STF), which is one of the top workplace injuries in the food and beverage industry. Fires and explosions are also key hazards due to the abundance of flammable materials such as cooking oils, dish towels, and flour in the kitchen.

Examples of common kitchen hazards include:

  • Wet or oily floor
  • Uneven or loose flooring
  • Obstructions on the ground (boxes and bins)
  • Gas accumulation and vapor cloud formation
  • Unattended cooking

SLIPS, TRIPS, AND FALLS

In the kitchen, hazards such as physical obstructions and poor flooring may lead to slips, trips, and falls. Working conditions such as insufficient lighting, poor housekeeping, and wet and slippery floors must be addressed in order to prevent accidents.

Also Read: E-Books: Guidelines for Gas cylinders safety(Opens in a new browser tab)

Good work practices to prevent slips and trips

  • Provide anti-slip installations such as anti-slip mats in areas that are prone to getting wet or oily;
  • Provide appropriate and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as anti-slip shoes;
  • Repair damaged flooring (e.g., broken tiles, holes) immediately;
  • Maintain good housekeeping at all times;
  • Clean up any spillages immediately;
  • Put up signs to warn passers-by about slippery floors during and after cleaning of floors;
  • Ensure adequate lighting in all work areas; and
  • Keep floors and stairs dry and clean at all times.

HANDLING SHARP OBJECTS

Sharp objects such as knives or broken glasses can result in cuts if they are not handled properly. Preventive measures should be taken while handling sharp objects. Some recommended preventive measures include:

Good work practices to prevent cuts

  • Use the appropriate equipment or tool for the job;
  • Use the appropriate PPE when handling sharp objects;
  • Cut in the direction away from your body;
  • Wash sharp objects separately from other objects or equipment;
  • Ensure cutting is done on flat surfaces;
  • Store sharp objects properly (e.g., knives stored on knife racks);
  • Ensure cutting devices are well-maintained; and
  • Do not multitask while handling sharp objects.

HANDLING HOT OBJECTS OR LIQUIDS

Accidental contact with hot surfaces such as boilers, hot presses in the laundry room, and kettles can cause serious injuries such as burns. Safe work procedures should be established and adhered to when handling hot objects or equipment. In addition, employers must ensure that adequate first aid facilities are provided and that designated workers are trained in first aid to handle burns and scalds.

Good work practices when handling hot objects

  • Do not overfill pots and pans;
  • Use heatproof gloves or cloths when handling hot pots and pans;
  • Ensure that the handles of pots and pans do not stick out from the counters or stoves;
  • Ensure safety devices such as thermostats and interlocking switches are installed;
  • Do not open pressure cookers and steam ovens when they are in use; and
  • Turn on hot water and hot liquid faucets slowly to avoid splashes.

Also Read: Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in the Prep Kitchen

IMPROPER STORAGE

If not properly stored on shelves and fridges, objects could fall from height onto people, while food could become unsafe to use over time.

To store correctly, you should:

  • Store heavy items no higher than waist height and don’t overstock shelves.
  • Use a FIFO food storage system.
  • Use a stepladder if you must access higher shelves, so you don’t have to reach above your head. Follow ladder safety rules.
  • Follow your food safety and hygiene training.
  • Know how to store food in the fridge safely: ready-to-eat food on the top; raw meat, poultry, and fish on the bottom; and fruits and veg in the bottom drawer. Keep food in containers for further separation, and don’t overload the fridge.
  • Check best before and use-by dates on stock regularly.
  • Keep allergenic ingredients well away from non-allergenic ones.
  • Ensure the temperature of the fridge is between 0-5°c and the freezer is below -18°c.

Fire and electrical hazards

You regularly use electrical equipment and naked flames in a kitchen. Fire and electricity are serious dangers; they can cause burns and shocks or even ignite a fire.

To minimize fire and electrical hazards, you should:

  • Keep an eye out for sources of ignition and fuel – remove cardboard boxes, packaging, and flour (with wet cleaning to prevent creating a combustible cloud).
  • Take extreme care when working around naked flames or electric stoves – keep flammable materials away from sources of heat and remember to wear a suitable chef’s jacket.
  • Check appliances and equipment’s cables and plugs for signs of damage – such as fraying, dents, cracks, exposed wires, or burn marks. Also, listen out for any unusual sounds.
  • Clean up spilled chemicals immediately – use non-flammable materials to do so.
  • Use electrical equipment and appliances only for their intended purpose – follow all training provided to you.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from water and do not overload socket outlets.
  • Never attempt to repair electrical equipment yourself – if it appears faulty or has stopped working, take it out of use and report it to senior staff ASAP.
  • Turn off all electrical equipment, stoves, and ovens at the end of the work day and when cleaning.

Also Read : E-Books: The Fire Prevention Handbook for Home safety

GENERAL PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Introduce a reporting culture

In general, you should:

  • Establish a system or channel for employees to report hazards or near misses.
  • Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions or practices in the kitchen.

Create a safe working environment

To prevent STF, you should:

  • Apply anti-slip measures (anti-slip floor coatings and mats) in places where slips are most likely to occur (e.g. washing area, cooking area).
  • Clear away empty boxes and food packaging lying in the kitchen.
  • Ensure all employees wear anti-slip shoes.

To prevent fires and explosions, you should:

  • Ensure the kitchen is well-ventilated to prevent dangerous build-up of gases.
  • Install gas detectors to alert employees when gas concentrations reach dangerous levels.
  • Inspect gas hoses periodically and replace damaged ones immediately.
  • Put in place fire detection and suppression systems.

Ensure proper education of employees

In general, you should ensure that employees:

  • Are aware of the risks involved and the need to follow safety precautions.
  • Follow instructions on the proper and safe use of kitchen equipment.

To prevent STF and fires and explosions, you should:

  • Ensure employees know the correct dress code for the kitchen (wear fitting attire, roll up long sleeves, and secure long hair in hair nets).
  • Train employees on safe work procedures when using gas stoves and electric ovens.
  • Remind employees to pay attention to fire and keep flammable materials away from the stovetop.

Put a housekeeping system in place

In general, you should establish a housekeeping system to keep the kitchen clean and tidy.

To prevent STF, you should:

  • Clean spills as soon as possible and keep walkways free from obstructions.
  • Mop floors in sections so that there will always be a dry section for walking and put up warning signs.
  • Repair leaks and broken tiles as soon as possible. Cordon off dangerous areas until they have been fixed.

To prevent fires and explosions, you should:

  • Store flammable materials safely (e.g. food packaging).
  • Lock gas cylinders in fireproof cabinets, away from heat sources, and in well-ventilated areas.
  • Keep fire exits and walkways clear to avoid obstructing escape routes.

Prepare for emergencies

You should make sure that sufficient first-aid kits are available, and that their contents are usable.

To prepare for fire emergencies, you should:

  • Train employees to put out small fires by using wet towels, fire blankets, or fire extinguishers.
  • Remind employees not to use water on grease fires, as water can evaporate violently and cause flames to spread even further.
  • Ensure fire extinguishers are easily accessible and in sufficient quantities.
  • Conduct fire and evacuation drills regularly to familiarise employees with emergency procedures.

Also Read : Canteen Inspection Checklist

Download the Infographic

Now you can download the Infographic ” Preventing Common Kitchen Hazards ” and post it at the workplace to communicate with everyone to be familiar with common Kitchen hazards and Safe work practices to avoid them.


Photo of the day: Preventing Common Kitchen Hazards

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