With staff dashing back and forth all day long in (very often) confined and crowded areas there are lots of hazards to contend with.
These can include:
• Hot surfaces
• Harmful substances
• Sharp implements
• Electrical and gas equipment
• Slippery floors

These all increase the likelihood of an incident or accident happening in a commercial kitchen. It is vital for you to understand and properly manage Health & Safety in your kitchen.
The HSE identify the following as common causes of incidents in kitchens;

Slips, Trips and Falls
These often occur due to wet floors. It is important clean up any spillages and to dry floors straight away. This should include placing ‘wet floor’ warning signage and cordoning off areas after cleaning until floors are dry, as well as verbally making other staff aware.
Uneven flooring or loose or damaged floor tiles could also be a contributory factor. Floors should be well maintained and passageways kept free from obstructions or obstacles.

Manual Handling
Pay special attention to things that are lifted in the kitchen, especially as certain items can be extremely heavy and/or difficult to manoeuvre / negotiate. Staff should be instructed on correct lifting techniques and to never push, pull or
drag heavy items as they might suffer a musculoskeletal injury. Where items are heavy, loads / weights should be reduced, ask a colleague for help lifting where possible a manual handling aid should be used, such as trolleys and sack trucks.

Use of Knives
Care must be taken when using knives. Kitchen workers need to follow safe procedures when using knives and other sharp utensils. Glass can also cause severe cuts. It’s also important not to startle someone who is using knives or sharp items in the kitchen.

Exposure to Hot or Harmful Substances
Care must be taken when working with or close to hot liquids. they should always be covered when not being directly worked with. Be careful when carrying pans or vessels containing hot liquids since they can otherwise splash and scald. Safe procedures should be in place for certain activities such as opening steam doors and draining and cleaning fat fryers.
Cleaning materials can be harmful if handled incorrectly and can cause skin problems. Even handling certain foods can cause dermatitis and other skin conditions such as eczema. They are also common causes of absenteeism in the catering and hospitality industry.

Some Other Hazards to Consider
The risk of fire. It is important that all electrical and gas appliances are fully maintained and suited for the job. They are both subject to periodic statutory testing. The use of correct ventilation methods or equipment will also need to be in place, but suitable and sufficient and fit for purpose. Issues that can increase the likelihood of incidents generally include a failure to properly assess risks, poor communication and a lack of responsibility for ensuring health and safety procedures in the kitchen are followed.  Under the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999, you are legally required to carry out a full risk assessment of your kitchen (which should be documented) if you have 5 or more employees. All equipment must comply with the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998
Staff MUST have received adequate training, instruction and supervision and are competent. Additionally, all equipment connected to electricity or gas supply should be installed by a suitably qualified engineer and be regularly tested by an appropriate qualified professional.

Some tips to avoid incidents in commercial kitchens include:
• When carrying knives, always keep them pointed down to the ground – never  front facing
• When moving hot pots, pans and trays, always tell people – if need be shout hot!
• If you smell gas, always check appliances
• Keep floors clear and dry at all times – immediately clean up any oil or spillages
• Do not throw broken glass in the rubbish without placing it in a suitable rigid container.
• Never overload electrical circuits and never plug or unplug electrical cords with wet hands
• Do not take a hot glass dish from the oven and put it on a wet surface or in cold water
• Always check equipment is off, before going off shift
• Make sure cookers, grills and all other equipment is turned off
• Test and tag your equipment regularly
• Staff should be trained to carry out a visual inspection of equipment prior to use
• Make sure you document evidence you have looked for kitchen hazards and put in place appropriate risk controls
• Make sure kitchen safety is included in regular safety meetings
• Have a good maintenance reporting procedure in place

When considering risks in a kitchen, food and hygiene are crucial, it is also essential to be mindful of the wider Health & Safety risks that can arise in kitchens. If all the Health & Safety risks are not fully considered, it may only be a matter of time before someone is harmed. Many incidents in kitchens can readily be avoided if effective Health & Safety policies and procedures are set up. This is why getting the help from a specialist will really benefit hospitality businesses.

Have you considered all the Health & Safety risks in your kitchen? Do you have the appropriate policies, procedures and risk assessments in place?
If you need help with anything call us today we can assist with,
– Food Safety
– Health and Safety
– Risk Assessments
– General Policies and Procedures

We also offer a range of training courses.