Busy industrial, commercial, and restaurant kitchens can be a hot spot for on the job injury. Burns, falls, blunt trauma, chemical exposure, cuts & lacerations and electric shock make up the majority of reported restaurant kitchen injuries. When injuries occur, employees suffer, restaurants lose productivity and morale is adversely affected. Is it time to audit your kitchen for safety? Here are some commercial kitchen safety tips your restaurant kitchen might benefit from.
Take charge of training your employees
- Make sure everyone in your charge knows what to do in the case of a kitchen emergency.
- Encourage employees to report potential safety problems.
- Regularly inspect the kitchen for new potential hazards.
Be aware of slip and trip hazards
- Keep work areas well lit. Most trip and fall accidents occur in general kitchen areas.
- Establish traffic patterns to avoid collisions.
- Use high friction surfaces and mats in areas where the floors may get wet.
- Require all kitchen and wait staff to wear non-slip shoes.
- Remove clutter or obstructions in work areas.
- Use clean mops so they do not spread grease.
Take steps to minimize burns in commercial kitchens
- Require cook staff to wear long sleeves and long pants.
- Turn pot handles away from stove/range burners.
- Open oven doors and pan lids away from you to avoid steam burns.
- Use dry gloves, potholders and mitts.
- Be aware of hot equipment and steam risks.
Follow safe cleaning practices
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Use appropriate signs to warn of slip hazards.
- Know the hazards and proper usage of the cleaning chemicals you use.
- Keep emergency eyewash readily available.
- Use protective clothing and proper equipment when working with corrosive and irritating substances.
Cold Storage & Freezer Safety
- Ensure your walk-in coolers and freezers are equipped with lights and latches inside the unit.
- Provide a means of exit on the inside of freezers.
- Ensure no doors are blocked with stock.
- Inspect high traffic areas for slipping hazards.
- Do not allow employees under 15 to perform fryer work duties.
- Wear safety equipment when working with hot oil.
- Handle only one fryer basket at a time.
- Instruct employees to slow down. Gently raise and lower baskets while cooking to avoid hot oil splashes.
- Keep ice and liquids far away from fryers.
- Train workers on machine guard safety for each piece of equipment in the kitchen.
- Periodically check for loose, damaged, or missing machine guards.
- Keep hair, clothing, jewelry, hands, fingers, and gloves away from dangerous moving/cutting parts.
- Use extension tools as required.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for equipment operation, cleaning and maintenance.
- Use a knife only for its intended purpose. Use the appropriate knife for the job and always use a cutting board.
- Carry knives point down and cutting edge away from your body.
- Clean knives immediately after use.
- Keep knives sharpened.
- Store knives properly in racks or knife sheaths close to areas where they are used most.
- Use cut resistant gloves whenever possible.
- Train kitchen employees on how to shut off power in case of an emergency.
- Develop and share procedures for electrical emergencies.
- Keep power cords away from liquids.
Lifting & Carrying Heavy Objects
- Know your limits.
- Where available, use mechanical devices and carts to lift and move heavy loads.
- Break large loads down into smaller units.
- Use proper lifting techniques
- Position body close to object, feet apart at shoulder width.
- Bend knees and hips while squatting down to object.
- Keep nature curve in lower back. Do not bend over.
- Tighten core muscles.
- Keep elbows and object close to body.
- Lift with legs.
- Do not lift object above shoulder.
- Do not twist back or knees when holding or carrying heavy objects.