Cooking is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. However, it can also be one of the most dangerous if not done correctly. Many potential hazards can occur when cooking. Hence, knowing about these potential problems and how to prevent them is essential. This can help you avoid any damage to the kitchen and your health. Listed below are some common kitchen hazards to know about.
Burns and Scalds
Burns and scalds are the most common kitchen injuries. They can be caused by hot liquids, steam, sharp objects, and even your body heat if you don’t wear proper clothing in hot weather.
Burns are classified into three degrees depending on how deeply they have penetrated your skin. These are the first, second, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns affect only the top layer of skin, while second-degree burns affect both layers of skin. First and second-degree burns cover 10% of the body.
Third-degree burns go through all three layers, epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat tissue below it. Scalds occur when liquid comes into contact with your body and causes pain or injury to parts of your anatomy other than your hands or feet.
Use oven mitts and pot holders when handling hot food utensils or cookware to avoid burns. They are made of thick materials to protect your hands from burns and also provide insulation. Use extra care when working with hot liquids like boiling water, soups, or beverages. Hold the handles of pots and pans securely and pour liquids away from your body to avoid accidental spills and scalds.
Pressure Cooker Explosions
Pressure cookers are a standard kitchen appliance used in almost every house. However, they can also be a hazard. The question that would arise in your mind here is can a pressure cooker explode? The answer is yes.
Pressure cookers can explode due to faulty manufacturing. In such circumstances, the manufacturers are to blame for the burns or any other health and property damage the exploding pressure cookers cause. Hence, you can file a lawsuit against these manufacturers to get compensated for the damages.
There are also other causes of pressure cooker explosions. According to TorHoerman Law, pressure cookers can also explode due to faulty gaskets, improper lid seals, faulty release valves, digital indication malfunction, etc.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
The first step to preventing slips, trips, and falls is wearing shoes with good traction. If you’re in an environment where you frequently walk on wet floors, such as a kitchen, consider using rubber-soled shoes instead of the more traditional leather ones.
Wet rags or clothes can also be hazardous. Make sure they are left to dry before they are used again. This will help prevent slips, falls, and bacterial contamination of food items stored nearby.
Wet mops can leave behind puddles that could lead to slips and falls. In this scenario, try using absorbent towels instead. This can prevent falls and hip fractures. Falls can easily lead to hip fractures. In fact, CDC data states that over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. This can significantly impact your medical expenses.
Every kitchen uses knives for cutting vegetables, fruits, etc. But these knives also lead to many unwanted cuts on your skin. Here are some knife safety tips to follow:
- Don’t use a knife to open cans. A can opener is designed to cut through the metal of a can, and it’s much safer than using your knife.
- Don’t use knives to remove bottle caps. The same goes for jars and screwtops; specific tools are made just for these purposes.
- Avoid cutting wire with your knife, especially if working in confined spaces like under sinks or behind furniture. If there’s no other option but to try this technique yourself, wear protective gloves before attempting anything else.
- And finally, Never try cutting rope using any kind of blade. This could lead down paths far worse than just getting hurt by an improperly used utensil. It could also cause severe damage elsewhere.
Fires in kitchens are a common scenario in the US. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 170,000 cooking fires in residential buildings in 2021. These fires caused 135 deaths, showing how hazardous kitchen fires can be.
To prevent fires, you should:
- Keep an eye on the stove. Never leave a burner unattended or turn off burners before they have completely cooled down.
- Turn the pot handles inward. Ensure that all pots and pans are placed with their handles turned inward so they cannot be knocked over accidentally. Also, use flame-resistant oven mitts when handling hot items from ovens or stoves.
- Don’t get distracted while cooking; don’t let others do so. If you need help with something else while preparing food in the kitchen, ask someone else who isn’t busy preparing meals for assistance instead of doing it yourself. This way, everyone stays safe.
Food contamination is a serious concern when it comes to the safety of your food. Foodborne illness can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms that may require hospitalization. Recent data shows that around 128,000 people in the US are hospitalized annually due to foodborne illness.
To avoid this outcome:
- Never leave raw meat or poultry at room temperature for over 2 hours.
- Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables/fruit. Don’t use them interchangeably.
- Always wash your hands before handling uncooked foods, and keep them clean while cooking.
Electrical safety is also vital, as shocks can severely affect your health and may lead to death.
- Don’t use an extension cord. Extension cords are meant to be temporary and can cause safety hazards if you’re not careful. They also put more stress on your electrical system by drawing power from multiple outlets at once, which can overload your outlets and cause them to overheat or even catch fire.
- Don’t overload outlets with too many appliances plugged in at once. Don’t place any appliances near each other that might interfere with their proper operation.
- Avoid power strips as well. These devices increase the risk of electrical shock because they give off more heat than individual outlets when operating at total capacity. If you must use one, make sure it has its circuit breaker switch so that no matter how many plugs are connected, only one circuit breaker trips if there’s ever an issue with overheating or shorting out within the strip itself.
- Never use damaged cords or outlets. Ensure all wires are intact before plugging them into place. Also, keep any cords away from hot surfaces like stoves or sinks. They could melt under high temperatures like this one day soon enough anyway, without us having done anything intentional about it ourselves first.
Exploring the potential hazards of the kitchen is a crucial step in ensuring your safety and well-being while indulging in your love for cooking. By being aware of potential hazards such as sharp knives, hot surfaces, and electrical appliances, you can take proactive steps to minimize accidents.
Simple precautions such as using oven mitts, practicing proper knife handling techniques, and keeping flammable materials away from heat sources can go a long way in preventing injuries.