Home > Safe Environment > Kitchen Workplace Safety

Kitchen Workplace Safety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Kitchen Workplace Safety Common

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing commercial catering health and safety regulations which can cover a wide ranging spectrum of businesses including pubs, hotels, restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, bistros, contract caterers and others where food and drink is prepared and served for the general public. Many accidents occur in kitchens every day and it is the HSE’s responsibility to ensure that regulations are adhered to in order to minimise the risks. Of course, hygiene in the kitchen is also an integral part of kitchen workplace safety but that is the responsibility of the Environment Health Department which will be covered in a separate article contained on this website.

Common Causes of Accidents in the Kitchen

The predominant causes of injury in a commercial kitchen are from slips, trips and falls, manual handling which can result in musculoskeletal injuries and exposure to hot or harmful substances.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Most slips, trips and falls in kitchens occur due to wet floors so it’s important to wipe up any spillages that occur immediately and to dry the floor. Warning signs saying ‘wet floor’ and even cordoning off certain areas are actions which should also be taken after spillages or after mopping the floor during cleaning until it is dry. Often, it’s an uneven floor or loose or damaged floor tiles which are responsible for slips and trips so it’s necessary to keep floors well maintained as well as clean and passageways or any areas where staff might walk should be kept free from any obstructions or obstacles.

Manual Handling

You need to pay great attention to things which you lift in the kitchen, especially as certain items can be extremely heavy and/or difficult to manoeuvre. Never push, pull or drag heavy items as you might suffer from a musculoskeletal injury. Where items are heavy, ask a colleague to help you lift them and, if it’s still too heavy, use a lifting device in addition to following basic health and safety guidelines on how to lift objects.

Cuts

You need to take great care when using knives in the kitchen and also beware of glass objects. You need to follow safe procedures when using knives and other sharp kitchen utensils and when handling items made of glass as both can cause severe damage in the form of cuts.

Exposure to Hot and Harmful Substances

Oil and other fluids such as water are commonplace in kitchens and it’s important that you take extreme care when working with or in close proximity to hot liquids. Always ensure they are covered when not directly working with them and be careful when carrying any pans or containers with hot liquids in which could splash and scald either yourself or fellow workers. The HSE also publishes safe procedures for things like opening steam doors and the draining and cleaning of fat fryers, for example. Other substances which can be harmful are cleaning materials which, if handled incorrectly, can cause skin rashes and conditions such as dermatitis. Even handling certain foods can cause dermatitis and other skin conditions such as eczema and these are some of the more common causes of absenteeism within the catering and hospitality industry.

Other Areas of Concern

The risk of fire is never that far away in a kitchen so it’s important that all electrical and gas appliances are fully maintained and are fit and suitable for the job. Proper ventilation will also be a major consideration as well as issues like climbing ladders. Therefore, it’s imperative that you carry out a full risk assessment of your kitchen facilities and ensure that they meet the requirements under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998 and that all equipment used is authorised, bears a British Standards Institute kitemark or an alternative equivalent and that the staff who are using the equipment have been fully trained and are competent in using it. Additionally, all equipment which is connected to an electricity or gas supply should be installed by a suitably qualified engineer and be subjected to regular testing by an appropriate professional.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hey, my boyfriend works in a kitchen in a pub and the manager has recently been making him work by himself doing long shifts 10-12 hours over the past week or so a the other chef has been away What i would like to know Is it ok for one person to be opening and closing the kitchen by himself as someone had informed me that it was illegal for him to do it alone.
Monique - 17-Feb-18 @ 11:38 AM
Arch - Your Question:
My daughter who is 16years old works in a tearoom/restaurant at weekends & last Sunday she was serving some customers with a tray of 2 teapots of boiling tea & cups, the customers refused to move they’re plates for her to put the tray fully on the table but the tray was 3/4 on, they took the cups first which then led to both pots of tea tipping down onto my daughters feet&splashing back up to her lower legs, in particular the water spilling into her left shoe, she ran into the kitchen where the a first aider got her to put her feet in cold water, she rang me straight away & said to take her to hospital to get the burns treated which I did. Her left foot is badly scolded where she had severe burns&blisters which are being treated&re-dressed every day at hospital. Her boss even though entering the room where the first aider was treating her didn’t bother checking on her & had not made contact with her at all. I rang to say due to her injuries she would not be able to work mon&Tues this week & it’s looking like she’s not able to work this sat or sun either. Even though I can’t do anything about the lack of support or sympathy from the boss my Question is should she still get paid for the agreed days she’s unable to work due to this workplace injury? & does she need a doc certificate to be signed off from work? she’s seeing her GP nurse tomorrow. She’s worried about losing her pay due to not being able to work with this injury. Many thanks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear that your daughter has been injured. She would have to read the terms and conditions of her employment contract to find out whether she is paid for time off or not. You can see more about when someone receives personal injuries in work via the CAB link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-Feb-18 @ 10:20 AM
My daughter who is 16years old works in a tearoom/restaurant at weekends & last Sunday she was serving some customers with a tray of 2 teapots of boiling tea & cups, the customers refused to move they’re plates for her to put the tray fully on the table but the tray was 3/4 on, they took the cups first which then led to both pots of tea tipping down onto my daughters feet&splashing back up to her lower legs, in particular the water spilling into her left shoe, she ran into the kitchen where the a first aider got her to put her feet in cold water, she rang me straight away & said to take her to hospital to get the burns treated which I did. Her left foot is badly scolded where she had severe burns&blisters which are being treated&re-dressed every day at hospital. Her boss even though entering the room where the first aider was treating her didn’t bother checking on her & had not made contact with her at all. I rang to say due to her injuries she would not be able to work mon&Tues this week & it’s looking like she’s not able to work this sat or sun either. Even though I can’t do anything about the lack of support or sympathy from the boss my Question is should she still get paid for the agreed days she’s unable to work due to this workplace injury? & does she need a doc certificate to be signed off from work? she’s seeing her GP nurse tomorrow. She’s worried about losing her pay due to not being able to work with this injury. Many thanks
Arch - 15-Feb-18 @ 4:41 AM
This article is factually incorrect. Enforcement of Health and Safety in commercial kitchens such as those in pubs, restaurants, hotels, bars, fall to the Local Authority not HSE.
SC - 9-Feb-18 @ 12:31 PM
Boss turned off hot water on my shift cause she was annoyed I put in my notice and told me to carry boiling water from the kettle upstairs to the sinks downstairs to clean. Boss asked another member of staff to use the mop bucket as the water vessel to clean the grill as the regular tub for the water was missing. The 16year olds that work there use the grill every day, is this okay?? Concerned!
Paul - 6-Feb-18 @ 1:21 PM
@Toni - that's not very professional. Your employer should really close the shop if the hot water has broken, not boil kettles as for one it is dangerous!
Mistyfx - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:27 AM
Hi I was wondering what the answer would be to working in a salon with the hot waterconstantlynot working? We are made to get boiling water from the staff room and carry over to the back wash to wash clients hair!
Toni - 7-Jan-18 @ 8:13 AM
Is there any guidance or regulation about how many volunteers work in a Community Cafe? I have heard there is an upper limit of 3 people working in the Cafe kitchen but have been unable to find this information to check. Thanks for your help.
WeeFi - 3-Nov-17 @ 11:06 AM
Tootsie69 - Your Question:
My daughter lives in council home and her kitchen is in a terrible state she has complained for years as the cupboard doors av fallen off an her sink is literally sinking she has two small children and one of the doors fell on one if them when she opened to get some biscuits is there anything she can do to get a new kitchen?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we can only direct you to the gov.uk site here where she can contact the housing ombudsman if she has had no result from the council directly.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 7-Sep-17 @ 3:53 PM
My daughter lives in council home and her kitchen is in a terrible state she has complained for years as the cupboard doors av fallen off an her sink is literally sinking she has two small children and one of the doors fell on one if them when she opened to get some biscuits is there anything she can do to get a new kitchen?
Tootsie69 - 6-Sep-17 @ 11:12 PM
Kathy- Your Question:
I volunteer at a soup kitchen is there a clothing regulation that says you can't wear sleeveless blouses?Thank youKathy

Our Response:
Yes, your employer can request you dress in a particular way, if is written into your contract. Your contract, and associated documents such as the staff handbook, may state that you need to dress in a certain manner, for health and safety reasons. I suspect your employer does not wish you to wear sleevless tops because of hot splashes from the soup which could burn your skin. But, to find this out you would have to read the terms of your contract.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:51 PM
I volunteer at a soup kitchen is there a clothing regulation that says you can't wear sleeveless blouses? Thank you Kathy
Kathy - 8-Aug-17 @ 5:04 AM
Kras - Your Question:
I work every sunday as cook for 9 hours on my own in a care home cooking for residents and staff.is there a rule for safety that I should have a kitchen assistant to help me,i don't have anyone so I do everything and I find it very difficult and strenuous,by the end of my day I feel very tired.is there a law please can you help.

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your employment contract. This should explain your duties and what your employer expects you to do. If you are finding the situation difficult, you should speak to your employer directly. If your employer doesn't attempt to resolve the issues, then you can raise a grievance in writing, please see link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 31-Jul-17 @ 2:01 PM
I work every sunday as cook for 9 hours on my own in a care home cooking for residents and staff .is there a rule for safety that I should have a kitchen assistant to help me,i don't have anyone so I do everything and I find it very difficultand strenuous,by the end of my day I feel very tired.is there a law please can you help .
Kras - 30-Jul-17 @ 3:12 PM
Hi Could you please answer a question for me is a 16 year old aloud to use a fish and chip fryer and also if so does he need to have a food and hygiene Course and also there are fire extinguish on the van do people need to be trained on how to use them if I am right the answer is they should have training Thanks
Sheelagh - 9-Jun-17 @ 12:16 PM
I rent a school kitchen for use of an after school club. When I arrive the kitchen floor is still very wet from the dinner kitchen staff cleaning an hour before. They do place a warning sign. Should the floor be dry when I arrive?
Ann - 28-May-17 @ 8:01 AM
Hey. I'm 17 years old apprentice chef. I'm just wondering if I could be left alone in the kitchen at work without other chefs or staff. So could I like do the last two hours of service myself? Me and my colleagues don't want to be breaking the law so was considering if I could be left and do food orders etc by myself
kyle - 17-May-17 @ 2:42 PM
Billy - Your Question:
I am an apprentice chef at a resturant. My shifts are mostly 2pm -10pm 5 days a week. Me and another work mate close the kitchen at 10 but can a 17 year old close a kitchen on their own

Our Response:
You would need to read the terms and conditions of your contract and/or employees' handbook - which may include your job description.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 12-May-17 @ 2:48 PM
I am an apprentice chef at a resturant. My shifts are mostly 2pm -10pm 5 days a week. Me and another work mate close the kitchen at 10 but can a 17 year old close a kitchen on their own
Billy - 5-May-17 @ 2:55 PM
My son works in a commercial bakery. He is over 6 foot and has been having severe backaches from stooping. Is there a regulation height for preparation surfaces in professional kitchens?
Ian - 21-Apr-17 @ 11:06 AM
Hi I am looking for advice, another member of staff as her 8 year old son on the premises of a busy restaurant/takeaway service. I am worried he could get hurt and shes busy working shes no clue what hes doing. Is this against the law? I do not know what to do. I have bought it up with my employer and had no reply.
Neil - 13-Apr-17 @ 1:17 PM
I work in a big supermarket commercial bakery (in store). Everyone leaves for home at 1 o'clock and I'm in the bakery on my own for 5 hours. I have to use the mixers and hot plates. Health and safety wise is this legal? As I do feel a bit vulnerable should an accident occur.
Darly - 8-Apr-17 @ 8:22 AM
Could you tell me if you work with a commercial dish washer,should it be on the floor or on a counter ,...
Nicky - 24-Feb-17 @ 4:18 AM
I cook at an old persons home .The dish washer is a commercial one ,but it is on the floor and not raise up .it has caused back pain ,and I'm not sure I can work there for long .what can I do ,I am sure it should be on the counter like the dish washers in restaurants.?
Nicky - 24-Feb-17 @ 4:12 AM
Hi I work in a place without a kitchen sink. There is a dishwasher and a hot tap but no sink. We do not prepare food for the public, only for our breaks. I can't find any guidance on this. Thanks
Elsie - 19-Feb-17 @ 4:06 AM
Hi I'm just wondering if it is legal for someone to work alone in a school kitchen for an hour or so? The kitchen is detached from the school and there is no contact with anyone in this hour.
Kay - 8-Feb-17 @ 10:14 AM
I work in a small bakery kitchen from 7am till 2pm with another person we do breakfast as in bacon sausage and egg and we also do pie peas and gravy and cold sandwiches now my boss want to drop one person on this day and wants me to work on my own is that legal as we cook all the products fresh every day as well as me serving customers and cleaning the premises
Anj76 - 28-Jan-17 @ 7:43 AM
me - Your Question:
Hi, my son works in a care home kitchen and has just been told that they will no longer provide safety boots, which they have for the past 8 years. He has been told that if he wants them he must get them himself. Your opinion please.

Our Response:
It depends upon what is in the terms of his contract. If the contract says the company must provide safety boots, then until your son agrees otherwise, they would be obligated to provide them. If there is no mention in the contract, then his employers are at liberty to be able to change their minds.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 11-Jan-17 @ 12:19 PM
Hi, my son works in a care home kitchen and has just been told that they will no longer provide safety boots, which they have for the past 8 years.He has been told that if he wants them he must get them himself.Your opinion please.
me - 10-Jan-17 @ 3:23 PM
hi i work in a cafe and i do notlike what i am and doing because i am on the pot wash and i want to find a different job can you help me and i am form burnley
becky - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:46 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Monique
    Re: Kitchen Workplace Safety
    Hey, my boyfriend works in a kitchen in a pub and the manager has recently been making him work by himself doing long shifts 10-12…
    17 February 2018
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Kitchen Workplace Safety
    Arch - Your Question:My daughter who is 16years old works in a tearoom/restaurant at weekends & last Sunday she was serving some…
    16 February 2018
  • Arch
    Re: Kitchen Workplace Safety
    My daughter who is 16years old works in a tearoom/restaurant at weekends & last Sunday she was serving some customers with a tray of 2…
    15 February 2018
  • Hammy
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    Looking for advice. I work in retail and a friend/colleague I know has been shoplifting things/ taking bags home with merchandise/…
    15 February 2018
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Tink - Your Question:Hi, I work in an opticians inside a large supermarket. My colleagues have bern provided with…
    13 February 2018
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    alanstuart100 - Your Question:My wife works 3 x 12 hour shift's.One hour is unpaid and her employer splits this hour into…
    13 February 2018
  • Maurie
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    I work in a place that processes meat (chix) upper management says that it has to be 32* although it's been 40+…
    12 February 2018
  • Tink
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Hi, i work in an opticians inside a large supermarket. My colleagues have bern provided with an uniform and…
    12 February 2018
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Afsha - Your Question:I work 2 days as a nursery nurse. I used to work 9 till 6pm with 15 minutes break and 1hour…
    12 February 2018
  • AsiaM
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    @Zaki - can you offer to replace the money? If you do, your employer might not press charges, but it is a chance you would have to…
    12 February 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkplaceSafetyAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.