Preventing Kitchen Burn Accidents
Whether you work in a commercial kitchen or you prepare daily meals at home, kitchen burn accidents are a common hazard. Work-related burns are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries in the restaurant industry. Although restaurants are generally safer than many other types of workplaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that work-related burns are disproportionately high among restaurant workers.
Kitchen Burn Risk Factors
Scald burns are a common form of burn associated with kitchen accidents; a scald occurs when the skin contacts hot liquid or steam. Many serious scalding burns happen when a person slips and grabs at something to steady themselves or slips while carrying hot liquids. Grabbing above you in a moment of panic or slipping while holding containers can both lead to containers splashing hot liquid. Scalds from hot water and oil are both common but scalds from hot oil generally create a more severe injury. The reason for this is that oil heats to higher temperatures than water and it is also thicker so it can remain on the skin for a longer period of time.
Other common kitchen burn risks include:
- Removing or cleaning oil from deep fryers
- Contact with steam, oil, or grease
- Cooking or serving boiling soups, desserts, or beverages
- Cooking with hot stovetops, grills, or ovens
- Access to exposed or improperly maintained wiring and equipment
- Rushed or tired employees carrying hot food/beverages
- Managers failing to enforce safety rules or not following safety rules themselves
- Congested quarters
Work Kitchen Burn Prevention Tips
The Burn Foundation recommends these safety tips to protect yourself from burns at work:
- Always wear protective gloves or mitts when touching hot pots, cooking with large amounts of oil, or pulling items out of the oven.
- Wear shoes with non-skid soles to help prevent slipping on wet or greasy tile floors.
- Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by placing a lid over the top of the container.
- Never carry or move containers with boiling liquid.
- Do not reach across hot surfaces; use barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
- Always follow directions for proper use of electrical appliances.
- Keep a first-aid kit in the kitchen and ensure that a person with first-aid training is working on each shift.
- Keep fire extinguishers accessible and up to date.
- Plan traffic patterns so that wait staff are not stepping around cooks, and dishwashers or on top of each other.
Home Kitchen Burn Prevention Tips
The following safety tips are recommended to help prevent a burn accident at home:
- Keep curtains and dish/hand towels well away from burners.
- Choose an oven with controls on the front or side so that you don’t have to reach over burners.
- Turn pan handles away from other burners and away from the edge of the stove while cooking.
- Do not wear loose, long sleeved shirts while cooking over a stovetop.
- Do not store cooking utensils above the range, so that you don’t have to reach over the stop top to access them.
- Keep hot pads, oven mitts, and pan holders near the stove/oven and always use them when handling pots, pans, and bake ware.
- Use a safety hook to help slide the baking rack to more easily retrieve hot foods.
- Only operate the microwave when there is food inside.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near the stove but make sure that you know how to use it and that it is properly charged.
- Smoke alarms should be in every room in your home and in working order. Don’t forget to replace the batteries annually!
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!