Working in the catering industry can be dangerous. In particular, working in a kitchen can expose catering and hospitality employees to a serious risk of accidents at work. Restaurant accidents involving knives and sharp kitchen equipment are, unfortunately, all too common. Cuts can be sustained to hands and fingers and can lead to injuries on the upper arm, torso and in some cases even the face, which the example below illustrates.
What are the typical kinds of restaurant accidents that can occur from a sharp knife/object in my kitchen/workplace?
Unfortunately, there have been many incidents in the workplace involving knives and other sharp objects. Below is an example of an actual reported accident that shows what can happen when trying to carry a bag whilst still holding a knife. Proper working practices could potentially have avoided the situation, for example the use of a safety knife.
While trying to open a 25 kilo bag of potatoes, a commis chef sliced the corner of the bag using a 12-inch fish filleting knife. With the knife still in his right hand pointing upwards, he then attempted to move the bag. The cut section of bag gave way causing the knife to be thrust upwards into his face, causing a severe laceration.
What can I do in order to minimise the risk of being injured by a sharp object/knife in restaurant accidents?
- All employees should receive proper training on knife handling and knife sharpening practices;
- Always use the correct knife for the purpose which you want. As stated above, the commis chief could have avoided a serious injury had he used the correct safety knife;
- Keep all knives sharp. Using a blunt knife to ‘hack’ can result in a serious injury;
- Always cut on a stable and secure surface to stop any unwanted slips of the knife;
- Be careful to handle knives properly when washing up;
- When carrying a knife, always ensure that the blade is safely pointed downwards;
- Knives should be stored securely, after use, in the correct drawer, rack or scabbard;
- Always use correct and adequate protective equipment when using a knife. Protective gloves and/or an apron are a must in order to minimise the chances of an injury.
Follow these tips and you can help to reduce the chances of being affected by accidents in the workplace caused by sharp kitchen objects.