Health & Safety Tips for Handling Knives in the Kitchen
Following health and safety in the kitchen is equally as important as it is in any other workplace. The main reason for this is of course, hygiene and the risk of cross-contamination. It is bad enough having food sent back because of a stray hair or insect that found its way in, – however, someone falling sick due to food poisoning is something that you must avoid at all costs.
So, health and safety is important for protecting your guests, however, the safety and well-being of your chefs and kitchen porters is equally as important. With boiling hot fryers, open flames, and a host of incredibly sharp knives, it’s no wonder why accidents happen frequently. Of course, there is much that can be done to prevent injury, and in this post, we’re going to explore a few of them regarding knife safety in the kitchen.
1 – Keep Your Knives Sharp
Believe it or not, a sharp knife is infinitely safer than one with a dull blade. A knife with a sharp edge will slice through food effortlessly, whereas a dull knife will require much more force which can lead to slips and terrible accidents. So, keep your knives sharpened and well maintained and then you won’t have to worry about missing fingertips showing up in the risotto.
2 – Cut Food on Stable Surfaces
Besides using the correct chopping board for the appropriate food group, you must ensure that they are placed on a stable surface before going ahead and cutting anything. This is to ensure that there are no unnecessary slips and accidents.
3 – Use Gloves Where Appropriate
There’s a stigma that surrounds using safety gloves in the kitchen that is not so dissimilar to that of a child refusing to wear a helmet when riding a bike out of fear of looking ‘uncool’ or ‘incompetent’. One thing is for certain, you’ll look far less cool if you slice your finger off because you were too proud to wear the appropriate safety equipment. There’s absolutely no shame in wearing cut-resistant gloves for food preparation, so do so whenever possible.
4 – Knifes Are Not Can Openers
Too often do people slice through their hands because they’ve been trying to foolishly open a tin with a large knife. It is not appropriate, and it is not safe, so avoid this at all costs.
5 – Clean Knives Appropriately
Throwing large, sharp knives in a sink full of water is a terrible idea. If you throw one in carelessly, you run the risk of the next person coming along, reaching in blindly, and ending up slicing a deep gouge into their skin. Be mindful of other people!
6 – Don’t Run with or Throw Knives
Yes, yes, – it might sound stupid, but you’d be surprised by how many people show off and try to juggle knives in front of their friends. Certainly, don’t try it! And, it doesn’t matter how busy you are, there’s no excuse to run with a knife in a kitchen, regardless of how grippy your protective footwear is! You should walk carefully with the knife pointing towards the floor by your side.
Of course, there is much more to knife safety in the kitchen, for example: storing them properly, refraining from licking them, cutting away from the hand, and passing a knife to someone else carefully by placing it on the kitchen surface and allowing them to pick it up safely.
The most important thing is that you are aware at all times, that you try not to rush, and that you follow these simple rules. If you do so, you should never have to worry about any major accidents occurring.