Definition of kitchen Accident: Accidents can be defined as unpleasant events that happen unexpectedly causing injury to individuals and damage to property in the kitchen or destruction of lives.
Types of Kitchen Accidents
A catering establishment could experience accidents due to any of the following: fire, faulty electrical installation, human error or mistake, wrong mechanical operation of a machine and architectural design accidents. Any of these could result in the listed types of accidents below:
a. Cuts: This is an opening or tear on the skin from a sharp object like knife, broken bottle or sharp rugged metal. Wash with water and antiseptic, bandage it. See a doctor for deep cuts.
b. Burns: An injury on the skin caused by dry heat from hot pot, hot plate, hot iron etc. Place under running water, bathe with melted and cooled lard, see a doctor.
c. Scalds: Injury on the skin from wet or moist heat. e.g. hot heat vapour, hot water, oil etc. Treat as for burns.
d. Falls: Caused by slippery floor that is wet, stepping o n fruit peel left carelessly on the floor, wearing high heel shoes etc. all leading to a sprain or dislocation of the foot, leg bones or any part of the body. Care: (i) Elevate the swollen part, and ice compress (ii) Massage the sprain with balm.
e. Electric Shock: e.g. Electric shock obtained by managing faulty electric appliance, operating electronic devices with wet hands etc. Care: (i) Loose tight clothes and keep him calm (ii) Get medical help
f. Fainting/Suffocation: A child covering his head with a nylon bag left carelessly in the kitchen is in danger of suffocation. Care: Loose tight clothes and fan him or her to recover.
g. Foreign body in the Eye: Flying objects, hot splash or peppery hand could be mistakenly introduced into the eye. Care: (i) Pull down lower eyelid and remove item with wet cottonwood (ii) Pull upper eyelid down over lower eyelid (iii) Open eye into a clean bowl of water.
h. Accidental poisoning: Drinking kerosene in place of water etc. Care: Drink two table spoons of palm oil or coconut water, see a doctor.
Causes Of Kitchen Accidents
- Distraction: When you are not concentrating on the task at hand.
- Excessive haste: Too much hurry can cause one to miss a step or knock off a hot object and lead to accident in the kitchen.
- Failure to apply safety rule e.g. removing hot pot with the bare hands from fire, managing faulty electrical appliances instead of repairing them etc.
- Leaving spilled liquids, banana and other peels on the floor, causing surface to be slippery.
- Not arranging the kitchen properly can lead to kitchen accidents.
- Not putting on the correct work shoes and clothes.
- Improper ventilation, can cause suffocation.
- Improper and insufficient lightening in the kitchen.
- Allowing very little children in the kitchen
- Not using correct equipment and tools for different tasks.
- Loose or missing tiles and worn carpets.
What To Do If Kitchen Accident Occurs (Remedy)
- Ensure the victim is placed in a comfortable position.
- First Aid treatment should first be applied if it is not a serious accident. If the accident is serious, take the following steps:
- Call the emergency number of the hospital close to you (or call an adult neighbour).
- State the exact location of the incident by giving the address and telephone number.
- Describe the quickest route to the place ofthe incident.
- Describe the accident, if heart attack is suspected, Indicate the age of the victim.
Prevention Of Kitchen Accidents
The following should be in place if kitchen accidents are to be prevented:
- Kitchen floors should be free from obstacles and in a good condition.
- Wipe off any liquid spilled on the floor immediately.
- Display warning notice of slippery floor especially if the kitchen is tiled.
- Guards on the use of machinery must be placed.
- Apply extra care when guards are off during cleaning.
- One person at a time should operate machinery.
- Never put hand or arm into bowl of electric mixer while motor is running.
- Always handle hot pans and baking trays with oven mitts or hand gloves.
- Never leave pots and pan handles to protrude over the stove or burners.
- Lift hot items correctly balancing on your two feet and bending at the knee to prevent back strain.
- Move heavy items with a trolley.
- Hand gloves and safety aprons worn during kitchen operations may prevent accidents.
- Do not place knives in the kitchen sink.
- Use knives correctly. Hold knives with the pointed ends pointing down always, lay knife down flat, not with the blades pointing upwards.
- Label ingredients correctly, especially bottled ones.
- Wear correct clothing, avoid flowing gowns and flying sleeves in the kitchen.
- Flat shoes are safer to be used in the kitchen.
- All peels should be wrapped and put in the dustbin.
- Do not allow children to play in the kitchen while you are working.
- Open the windows well to prevent suffocation.
- Use correct utensils and equipment for right tasks eg. use tin openers and not knife to open tinned foods.
- Handle equipment and utensils with care.
- Read and understand instructions about an appliance before using.
- Arrange the kitchen properly.
- Never manage faulty electrical appliances, repair or replace them.