Kitchen Calamities: 7 Restaurant Kitchen Hazards And How To Avoid Them
According to research, lacerations and cuts make up more than 40% of visits to hospital emergency departments. Worse yet, many of these cuts and lacerations happen in the kitchen. And, this includes commercial kitchens.
The truth is, commercial kitchens are home to several hazards that can lead to serious injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.
Luckily, we've identified 7 restaurant kitchen hazards that you should know about. Better yet, we'll tell you how to avoid them and stay safe while at work.
As mentioned above, cuts make up a large percentage of trips to hospital emergency departments. With this in mind, it's essential that you take great care when using a kitchen knife.
The truth is, blunt knives are actually more dangerous than sharpened ones. This is because with a blunt knife you have to use more pressure to slice your ingredients. As a result, there is a higher chance of the knife slipping and cutting you.
However, it's not just knives that can cut you. You should also be wary of broken glass and machinery with sharp parts. For example, a food processor.
With the above in mind, always use the right knife for the job and keep it sharp. Additionally, make sure to use a chopping board when slicing ingredients. And, use a fork to hold down prepared food when chopping it.
2. Burns and Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Another way people injure themselves in kitchen restaurants is by burning themselves or exposing themselves to harmful chemicals.
While the most common time people burn themselves is when preparing food, you could also do so when:
- Lighting candles on the tables
- Serving hot drinks
- Carrying hot plates
Furthermore, some people may suffer from allergies to harmful chemicals without even knowing it. For example, some of the solutions used to clean kitchens contain harsh chemicals that can damage your skin. You may also rub your eyes, causing more serious injuries.
To avoid burns, follow the procedures outlined in the health and safety manual in your restaurant. Also, always use aprons and mitts when working. And, take great care when working with:
- An exposed flame
- Hot electrical appliances
- Hot oil
When it comes to exposure to chemicals, you should wear the right gloves and shoes. You should also read the labels on the solutions you use.
3. Slips, Trips, and Falls
After a long shift, it's normal for the floor to be wet and oily. With this in mind, you must choose the right anti-slip flooring when designing your restaurant kitchen.
You should also clean up your kitchen as you use it. Between busy times, make sure to clean all the surfaces and floor.
Additionally, make sure your flooring is even and install a double door between the kitchen and the front of the house. This will help you avoid injury-causing collisions.
4. Injuries to the Eyes
When preparing and cooking food, your eyes become vulnerable to the elements. These can include:
- Splashes of oil
- Ingredients (for example, chilies)
The key to avoiding any eye injuries is to take precautions when near the above elements. In more severe cases, you should wear protective eyewear to ensure you don't hurt yourself.
5. Crowded Workspaces
Crowded workspaces are difficult to maneuver and can lead to serious injuries for both chefs and front-of-house staff. The truth is, there is no way to avoid these when working in a busy environment.
The only real solution is to expand the space. But, this can cost a small fortune. You may also find that you don't have the space to expand.
Assuming you can't add an extension to your restaurant, it's important that all walkways stay clear. Additionally, keep work surfaces clutter-free to avoid any spillages.
Moreover, make sure that the rota is clear to all employees. It's important that no staff linger and get in the way as they could cause an accident.
6. Heavy Lifting
On inventory and delivery days, it's normal for everyone to lift the merchandise and bring it into the restaurant. While the delivery company will do this in most cases, it's not uncommon for employees to help them.
Unfortunately, this can lead to sprains and strains. So, make sure there are back belts available to staff. Moreover, train them to avoid any unnecessary injuries.
For example, they should be aware that they have to wheel the produce as close to the door as possible before carrying it. They should also know to lift with their legs and not their back.
Last but not least, make hand trucks available to them. And, encourage them to take it easy if they already suffer from injuries to the back or legs.
7. Faulty Equipment and Appliances
While not as common as the above kitchen hazards, it is possible for there to be equipment malfunctions. Some of these could include:
- Gas Leaks
- Faulty extension cords
Your kitchen staff should be able to identify gas leaks. They should also be on the lookout for exposed or faulty wiring. If something sparks, you should be aware of it in order to schedule a repair. Alternatively, you can buy new kitchen equipment.
Furthermore, outlets near sinks and other damp locations should have adequate enclosures. To ensure your kitchen is fully compliant, consult with your legal counsel to create and implement your health and safety plan.
Find Out How to Reduce Restaurant Kitchen Hazards at GoFoodservice
It's extremely easy to overlook certain kitchen hazards. Aside from not noticing them, you may also think they're not that big a deal. The truth is, these can lead to serious accidents and potentially fatal injuries.
You could also face a huge lawsuit if you don't perform the right due diligence. With this in mind, make sure to follow all the tips above to keep your employees and your business safe at all costs.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about restaurant kitchen hazards or the best kitchen appliances for your business, visit our buying guides. We share a wealth of information that can help you make your business a success.