In a fast paced intense environment like a commercial kitchen, there are bound to be worries regarding safety. We’re talking about dozens of people in very close proximity to heat and fire, sharp utensils, floor gaps, potentially hazardous chemicals and material, and the list may go on. An estimate by the Occupational Safety Hazard Association stated that nearly 44,000 workers in the United States are involved in an accident every year.
It’s essential to every commercial kitchen that there are safety protocols in place. Educating your staff, ensuring proper pathways and safe placement of equipment in the kitchen, proper emergency exit protocols, and so on. Let’s talk about a few of these in depth in this post.
Fires are usually one of the biggest concerns when it comes to commercial kitchen planning. Does your establishment have proper fire exits? Are the cooking areas designed to be fireproof? Do you have enough fire extinguishers on hand?
These may sound like simple rules but their efficacy goes a long way towards maintaining a safe kitchen. For example, fire exit rules change frequently. They also depend on the area of the establishment itself; not every kitchen can directly afford to place fire exits in some areas. Fire extinguishers also need to be periodically checked for quality control and replaced if need be. Fireproof equipment eventually degrades over time. Talking to a commercial kitchen planner will ensure you stay on top of these things so that the probability of an accident is made even less. Another potential hazard: Avoid open-flame cooking as much as possible. This only exacerbates the problem of burns and fire hazards elsewhere in the kitchen.
While fires may be a large concern in a commercial kitchen, one of the most common accidents is actually something that has nothing to do with fires. An estimated 16% of accidents in restaurants or kitchens are of people who’ve had an accident by slipping and falling. While it may seem laughable at first, it’s important to remember that kitchens become messy places almost immediately and some of the material in use can be extremely slippery or wet. Cleaning up on a regular basis should be made mandatory, along with specialized surfaces that don’t allow slippages as easily. Grease has to be cleaned up regularly as well; if not, it additionally becomes a fire hazard, and that’s more headaches for the workers there. Another important rule of thumb in general is keeping walkways clear; both to ensure safety and to ensure processes happen quickly in the kitchen.
Manual labor is alway a core part of a commercial kitchen despite restaurateurs going the way of artificial intelligence. Humans are always at risk because no two individuals are alike and can handle varying workloads. One risk that usually goes unnoticed: Manually lifting heavy loads with hands. Kitchens are constantly moving and Most of the time, even strong people tend to weaken their backs with lots of lifting work around the kitchen. Manually handling delicate equipment or even kitchen cutlery is another potential hazard; checks have to be in place to ensure everyone in the kitchen can handle the equipment in a safe manner.
Oftentimes, performing all safety checks and protocols within your commercial kitchen can be exhausting and might be redundant. In such cases, getting certified from an external agency or authority goes a long way. Being certified in protocols like HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) or GMP (Goods Manufacturing Practices) goes a long way in establishing a safe commercial kitchen.
As you’ve seen, there are numerous variables that interfere with maintaining a safe kitchen. Consulting with a commercial kitchen planner like HPG helps clear the path to a safer, faster kitchen for your enterprise.
HPG Consulting has heralded projects of designing and establishing commercial kitchens with well-known organizations such as Taj & Carlson, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Apollo Hospital, Artemis Hospital, Step by Step, Google, IIM, Mainland China, etc.
For further clarification on designing a commercial kitchen, get in touch with the kitchen consultants at HPG Consulting today.