Hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Employees should always wash hands before, during and after working in the kitchen.
  • Nails need to be kept clean to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Any cuts need to be covered with waterproof bandages that should be changed frequently.
  • All jewelry that might get in the way should be removed.
  • Hair should be tied back and hairnets worn. Kitchen staff should never wear dangling sleeves that may get caught in appliances or catch fire.
  • Oven mitts should be used when handling hot dishes. Elbow-length oven mitts are preferable. Help to prevent burns by using extreme caution when working with steam.

Knives are one of the most useful tools in the kitchen, but also one of the most dangerous

  • Workers should always cut away from their bodies on a proper cutting surface.
  • Keep blades sharp and clean. Keep knife grips clean.
  • Never leave knives lying in water. They can injure an unsuspecting dishwasher.
  • When wiping blades always point the cutting edge away from the hand.
  • Lay knives flat and away from counter edges. If a knife should fall, do not try to catch it.
  • Pick it up after it has fallen.
  • Always clean and return knives to their proper storage areas when finished working with them.

Falls and Spills

  • Always clean up messes and spills immediately.
  • Close storage doors and drawers when done.
  • Use a sturdy step ladder to reach for things.
  • Do not step on objects that are unstable.
  • Heavier materials should always be stored on the floor where they can be moved more easily with a dolly or cart. Lighter materials should be at the higher locations.
  • Slip resistant mats should be placed in front of all pieces of equipment, especially in the dishwashing area.
  • Use proper lifting techniques when lifting and carrying heavy loads.
  • Make sure the path you intend to take is clear.
  • When lifting, bend the knees and use the legs to lift.
  • Be careful when carrying liquids, especially hot ones.
  • Never lift beyond your own lifting capacity.

Fire Safety

Restaurant management must to create a fire safety plan that includes fire extinguishers in specified areas. Employees are required to undergo training on the use and location of the fire extinguishers. Each fire extinguisher must be tested periodically according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Upon completion of the tests, an employee must sign and date a maintenance log for the fire extinguishers, and if an OSHA inspector visits the restaurant, the employer must be able to produce this maintenance log. Flammable liquids must be kept a safe distance away from a restaurant’s cooking appliances.

Working Conditions

The kitchen of a restaurant can reach extremely high temperatures when employees are using the ovens, grills, and stoves. The employer must provide a cool area with air conditioning or fans for employees to take their breaks. Keeping hydrated it is important in order to prevent dehydration.

What to do if your employer is violating health and safety laws? (click to continue reading)

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