Kitchen Safety 101
I cannot express just how important kitchen safety is. It is important not only for the person cooking but for those around you as well.
IN THE KITCHEN
- Use adequate lighting in your kitchen
- Have a fire extinguisher near by*(see Preventing and Dealing with Fires)
- Have emergency numbers posted near by
- They say to never have too many cooks in the kitchen for a reason; a crowded kitchen is asking for collisions, and injuries.
- Keep your work area clean. Cleaning as you go not only makes it easier at the end, but also prevents injuries and cross-contamination of food.
- Even though you are at home; you should always wear shoes while working in the kitchen; this prevents slip and falls and if a knife happens to fall; best it hits the top of your shoe than the top of your foot.
- 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 cutting board to keep it from slipping.
- Pay attention to your work when using a knife or cutting equipment. Have only one knife at a time on the cutting board. Knives not in use should be on a work table near you but not on the cutting board.
- Cut away from yourself and others near you.
- 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 the sink, under water, or in any other place they can’t be seen.
- Clean knives carefully, with the sharp edge away from you.
- Store knives in a safe place; such as a rack, when not in use.
- Carry knives properly. Hold the knife beside you, point down, with the sharp edge back and away from you. Don’t swing your arm. When possible, carry knives in a sheath (a case or covering). Warn people when you are walking past them with a knife.
- Keep breakable items, such as dishes and glassware, out of the area where you are cooking.
- 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 into the garbage can as is.
- If there is broken glass in the sink, drain the sink before trying to take out the glass.
- Always assume a pot handle is hot. Don’t just grab it with your bare hand.
- Use dry pads or towels to handle hot pans. Wet ones will create steam, which can burn you.
- Turn handles away from edge of stove. Also keep them away from open flames of gas burners.
- Don’t fill pans so full they are likely to spill hot foods.
- Get help when moving heavy containers of food.
- Open lids away from you to let steam escape safely.
- Use care when opening steamers.
- Make sure gas is well ventilated before trying to light ovens or pilot lights. Strike matches before turning on the gas. Also, strike matches away from your body
- Wear long sleeves to protect you from spilled or splattered hot foods or fat. Also, wear closed toed shoes.
- Dry foods before putting them in frying fat, or hot fat may splatter you.
- When placing foods in hot fat, let them fall away from you so fat will not splash on you.
- Keep liquids away from your deep fryers or pans with frying oils. If a liquid were spilled into the fryer or fat, the sudden rush of steam could spray hot fat or oil on anyone nearby.
- Always warn people when you are walking behind them with hot pans or when you are walking behind someone working with hot items.
- Warn people about hot plates and pans.
PREVENTING AND DEALING WITH FIRES*
- Know where fire extinguishers are and how to use them.
- Use the right kind of fire extinguisher. There are four classes of fire and fire extinguishers should be labeled according to the kind of fire for which they can be used.
- Class A: wood, paper, cloth, ordinary combustibles.
- Class B: burning liquids, such as grease, oil, gasoline, solvents.
- Class C: switches, motors, electrical equipment, and so forth.
- Class K: cooking appliances involving combustible cooking products such as vegetable or animals oils and fats.
- Keep a supply of salt or baking soda handy to put out fires on rangetops.
- Keep hoods and other equipment free from grease build-up.
- Don’t leave hot fat unattended on the range.
- If a fire alarm sounds, and if you have time, turn off all gas and electrical appliances before leaving the building.
NEVER USE A “CLASS A” EXTINGUISHER ON A GREASE FIRE OR ELECTRICAL FIRE. YOU WILL ONLY SPREAD THE FIRE.
PREVENTING INJURIES FROM MACHINES AND EQUIPMENT
- Do not use any equipment unless you understand its operation.
- Use all guards and safety devices on equipment. Set slicing machines at zero (blade closed) when not in use.
- Don’t touch or remove food from any kind of equipment while its running, not even with a spoon or spatula.
- Unplug electrical equipment before disassembling or cleaning.
- Make sure the switch is off before plugging in equipment.
- Do not touch or handle electrical equipment, including switches, if your hands are wet or if you are standing in water.
- Wear proper fitting clothing. Tuck in apron strings to avoid getting them caught in equipment.
- Use equipment only for its intended purpose.
- Stack pots and other equipment properly so they are stable ad not likely to fall.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Throw salt on a slippery spot to make less slippery while getting a mop.
- Don’t carry objects too big to see over.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Stand on a safe ladder, not a chair or piles of boxes, to reach high shelves or to clean high places.
PREVENTING STRAINS AND INJURIES FROM LIFTING
- Lift with the leg muscles, not the back.
- Don’t turn or twist your back while lifting. Make sure your footing is secure.