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In all forms of hospitality that cook, prepare and serve food, the kitchen is the core of operations. The kitchen provides the platform for food preparation, for food to enter and exit, and for the sanitation of dinnerware and other accessories. During most shifts, these tasks are all being performed simultaneously and because of that, it increases the potential risks. In a kitchen, your knowledge of each and every employee’s tasks and responsibilities is critical to your own ability to work safely.
Every kitchen fundamentally has the same areas. As you enter a kitchen, it is important for you to understand and observe where each area of the kitchen is in your workplace. You have The Line, The Prep Station, The Walk-ins, The Expedite / Wait Station, and The Dishwashing Station. In each area, there are many risks that you can encounter and ways to prevent them.
In every kitchen, there are many hazards, but the number one cause of cuts is from the improper use of knives. While you may consider the fact that cooks will primarily be using knives, in fact, nearly every employee will handle and come in contact with a knife and other sharp objects in a kitchen. The majority of restaurants will contain at least 6 types of knives and include additional sharp objects, such as a meat slicer.
Slips, Trips, & Falls
Slips, trips, and falls pose significant risks in kitchen safety due to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the environment. Wet surfaces, frequent movement, and the handling of various items concurrently increase the likelihood of accidents. Understanding preventive measures, proper footwear, maintaining dry surfaces, and implementing safe movement practices are essential to reduce the occurrence of slips, trips, and falls, ensuring a safer kitchen workspace.
One of the most common injuries to occur in a kitchen is from a burn. Not only are you surrounded by open flames and hot surfaces, but also the oven's cooking food at high temperatures, along with people moving hot food back and forth around you. When you consider most kitchens, all of this movement is also occurring in small, tight spaces, only further increasing the risk. Every kitchen has several locations which have the potential to create a fire. In each of these locations, there should be fire extinguishers stored and easily accessible.