How to handle knives safely in your restaurant kitchen

To make sure you and your employees are working safely with knives in the kitchen, you must carry out a risk assessment and take the necessary steps to reduce risk and prevent accidents. No workplace is ever completely risk-free; however, you can mitigate the likelihood of injuries by taking reasonable precautions.

What are the risks?

The commonest risks associated with using knives are cuts to the hand, fingers, upper arm and torso. These can happen for several reasons, but mainly occur when knives are used incorrectly because the user is inexperienced, has picked up bad practices, or has never been trained. Knowing the different usage of different knives is also a factor; for example, cleavers are used for chopping and knives for slicing. Stress and pressure in the workplace also contribute to knife risk in the kitchen.

Address the risk

Accidents in the kitchen are common. The best way to address the risk of accidents is to train those who use knives in cooking and the staff members who wash and handle knives; in fact, all users can benefit from some basic ground rules. These include the need to carry a knife with the blade pointing downwards, and never pointing it or using it to gesture.

Equally important is that knives should be kept sharp. A dull knife will cut badly and need more pressure applied, which can lead to slips and accidents. Cutting on a stable surface and only cutting the foods the knife is designed to cut are also important. Knives should never be left on a plate or surface to be used again. This is especially important when you consider commercial refrigeration – never put a knife in the fridge, where it could fall down when a plate is moved.

The right stuff

Besides training, knife users need to be provided with the right equipment. When shopping online at stores such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/, take time out to see what specific safety equipment is needed. Deboning a joint, for example, requires the use of a suitable protective glove worn on the non-knife hand, while the body should be protected with a chainmail or stab-resistant apron.

Don’t forget that horseplay in the kitchen is a big no-no. Some of the most serious accidents happen when people are just trying to have fun.

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