Kitchen Safety Tips for Workplace and Home

A kitchen – in a workplace or even at home – has many possible hazards that can cause accidents and injuries. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to stay safe in the kitchen:

1. Good housekeeping helps keep you safe.

Keep floors clean, dry, and free of obstructions to prevent slips and falls. Spills are bound to occur. Mop them up promptly and put up a sign to show when the floor is wet. Always remember that a kitchen is where food is prepared so keep counters and cooking surfaces clean to avoid food contamination.

2. Ranges, grills, fryers, ovens, and other food heating and cooking equipment are potential fire hazards.

Prevent grease buildup and keep flammable items away from such equipment to prevent fires. Be sure you know where fire extinguishers are kept and how to use them in case of a small fire. Be careful when carrying hot liquids, hot substances can cause serious burns.

3. Powered kitchen appliances, such as garbage disposals, meat slicers, and grinders, can cause serious injuries – even amputations.

Do not hand-feed such equipment, use a pusher instead. Make sure guards are in place before operating the appliances. Once guards are in place, do not remove them.

4. Use precautions to avoid electrical shock.

Don’t touch appliances, cords, or switches with wet hands or while standing on a wet floor. You should also use waterproof cords and outlets in kitchen work areas. Don’t use any appliance with damaged cords or plugs. If you are in a workplace kitchen, report the damaged item so it can be replaced. Likewise, don’t use any equipment that sparks, smokes, or smells like it’s burning.

5. Use knives carefully and properly.

Always keep knives sharp, you’re more likely to get cut by a dull knife. Cut on a sturdy surface such as a cutting board. Hold the knife by the handle with the point away from you or anyone else. Never put knives in a sink full of sudsy water where they can’t be seen or you might be cut when you put your hands into the water. Store knives safely in racks with the blades covered. In workplace and commercial kitchens, it is recommended to wear cutting gloves when using a knife, removing a lid from a can, and when cleaning kitchen equipment with sharp edges.

6. Check the labels on cleaning supplies before using.

If you are in a workplace kitchen, remember that many cleaning supplies made for commercial use are stronger than those sold for home kitchens. If the label indicates any precautions, read the safety data sheet (SDS) to get more detailed information. Some products suggest the use of gloves or personal protective equipment (PPE), follow these recommendations to avoid skin irritation. Obey warnings about flammable substances and keep them away from stoves or other heat sources.

7. Don’t run! Wear sturdy shoes with nonskid soles in the kitchen.

Don’t try to lift or carry items that are too large for one person. Ask someone to give you a hand if an object is too big or heavy to handle by yourself. Try to store heavy items at waist height to avoid extra lifting and bending. Make sure all items are stored securely on sturdy shelves.