Work in Kitchen is usually considered a relatively safe occupation, at least in comparison with many industrial jobs. In this article we will discuss about Kitchen Safety and various ways for preventing cuts, Burns, Fires, Injuries, fall & Strains from Lifting, and also how to handle Machines & Equipment.
Nevertheless, the kitchen has many hazards. Minor injuries from cuts and burns are very common, and more serious injuries are all too possible. The quantity of very hot equipment and of powerful machinery, combined with the busy, sometimes-frantic pace makes it important for everyone to work carefully and with constant attention to rules of kitchen safety.
THE SAFE WORKPLACE
Most of this section is considered with ways that workers can prevent certain kinds of accidents, such as cuts, burns, and falls. However, it is much easier to develop and practice habits that prevent accidents if kitchen safety is built into the workplace.
BUILDING KITCHEN SAFETY
The management of a food service operation must see to it that the structure and equipment have necessary kitchen safety features.
Structure, equipment, and electric wiring in good repair.
Adequate lighting on work surfaces and in corridors.
Clearly marked exits.
Equipment supplied with necessary safety devices.
Heat-activated fire extinguishers over cooking equipment, especially deep fryers.
Conveniently located emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, fire blanket, and first aid kit.
Clearly posted emergency telephone numbers.
Smooth traffic patterns to avoid collisions between workers.
BUILDING KITCHEN SAFETY INTO THE WORKER
Kitchen Safety is more than just memorizing all the rules. Kitchen Safety is an attitude, a matter of professionalism. True professionals work safely because it’s part of their attitude towards their craft. They are proud of their work and want to do it as well as possible. Many accidents are caused by carelessness, by lack of attention, and by clowning around in the kitchen.
Keep knives sharp. A sharp knife is safer than a dull one, because it requires less pressure and is less likely to slip.
Use a cutting board. Do not cut against a metal surface. Place a damp towel under the board to keep it from slipping.
Pay attention to your work when using a knife or cutting equipment.
Cut away from yourself and other workers.
Use knives only for cutting, not for such jobs as opening bottles.
Don’t try to catch a falling knife. Step back and let it fall.
Don’t put knives in a sink, under water, or any place where they can’t be seen.
Clean knives carefully, with the sharp edge away from you.
Store knives in a safe place, such as in a rack, when not in use.
Carry a knife properly. Hold it besides you, point down, with a sharp edge back and away from you. Don’t swing your arm. Whenever possible, carry knives in a sheath. Warn people when you are walking past them with a knife in hand.
Keep breakables items, such as dishes and glassware, out of the food production area.
Don’t put breakable items in the pot sink.
Sweep up, don’t pick up broken glass.
Discard chipped or cracked dishes and glasses.
Use special containers for broken dishes and glasses. Don’t throw them in with other garbage.
If there is broken glass in the sink, drain it before trying to take out the glass.
Remove all nails and staples when opening crates and cartons, and dispose of them.
Always assume a pot handle is hot. Don’t just grab it with your bare hand.
Use dry pads or towels hot pans. Wet ones will create steam, which can burn you.
Keep pan handles out of the aisle, so people won’t bump into them. Also, keep handles away from flames of gas burners.
Don’t fill pans so full that they are likely to spill hot foods.
Get help when moving heavy containers of hot food.
Open lids away from you to let steam escape safely.
Use care when opening compartment steamers.
Make sure gas is well vented before trying to light ovens or pilot lights. Strike matches before turning on the gas. Also, strike matches away from yourself.
Wear long sleeves and double-breasted jackets to protect yourself from spilled or spattered hot foods or fat. Also, wear sturdy leather shoes with closed toes.
Dry foods before putting them in frying fat or hot may splatter on you.
When placing foods in hot fat, let them fall away from you, so that fat will not splash on you.
Keep liquids away from the deep fryer. If a liquid were spilled into the fryer, the suddenly created steam could spray hot fat on anyone nearby.
Always warn people when you are walking behind them with hot pans or when you are walking behind someone who is walking behind with hot items.
Warn service people about hot plates.
Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
Use the right kind of fire extinguisher. There are three classes of fires, and fire extinguishers should be labelled according to the kind of fire for which they can be used.
Class A fires: wood, paper, cloth, ordinary combustibles.
Class B fires: burning liquids, such as grease, oil, gasoline, solvents.
Class C fires: switches, motors, electrical equipment, and so forth.
Never use water or a Class A fire extinguisher on a grease fire or electric fire. You will only spread the fire.
Keep a supply of salt or baking soda handy to put out fires on range tops.
Keep hoods and other equipment free from grease buildup.
Don’t leave hot fat unattended on the range.
Smoke only in designated areas. Do not leave burning cigarettes unattended.
If a fire alarm sounds and if you have time, turn off all gas and electric appliances before leaving the building.
Keep fire doors closed.
Keep exits free from obstacles.
PREVENTING INJURIES FROM MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
Do not use any equipment unless you understand its operation.
Use all guards and safety devices on equipment. Keep slicing machine set at zero (blade closed) when not in use.
Don’t touch or remove food from any kind of equipment while it is running, not even with a spoon or spatula.
Unplug electric equipment before disassembling or cleaning.
Make sure the switch is off before plugging in equipment.
Do not touch or handle electric equipment, including switches, if your hands are wet or if you are standing in water.
Wear properly fitting clothing and tuck in apron strings to avoid getting them caught in machinery.
Use equipment only for the purpose intended.
Stack pots and other equipment properly on pot racks, so that they are stable and not likely to fall.
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