Kitchens are hazard-prone zones where one incident can prove to be injurious and expensive. A home kitchen or a kitchen in a place of business like a restaurant can have hazards brewing that you are not aware of. Kitchen safety regulations need to extend beyond knife safety, burn prevention and a first aid kit.
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Bacteria and Contamination
It was once common to rinse meat and poultry with water to wash off any bacteria that might be on the surface of it. The USDA, however, recommends that this not be done because of how easily the bacteria can spread. The bacteria that was on the meat is killed when it is cooked to the appropriate temperature, but it remains on the surface it was rinsed on and can spread if it is not cleaned immediately and appropriately. All surfaces in a kitchen that are used to prepare any food should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and warm water or a bleach-based cleanser. Another item in a kitchen that can harbour bacteria are sponges. To keep them clean, place them in boiling water for a couple minutes, in the dishwasher to be cleaned with the plates in it or microwave a wet sponge for one minute to kill the bacteria.
Range Hood and Filter Hazards
Over time, grease will begin to build up in a range hood and its filter. This grease can drip into foods cooking on a hob and it can set a kitchen on fire as well as the area of the building that the hood vents into. Range hoods should regularly be cleaned and their filters should be replaced per the manufacturer's instructions. As an extra precaution, always have a working fire extinguisher in a kitchen.
Mold in a kitchen doesn't only grow on spoiled food; it can lurk in areas you cannot see. Anywhere there's moisture, like a leaky faucet, there may be mould. Regularly check under sinks, the seals around a dishwasher or a refrigerator door and, if possible, under or behind a refrigerator. Mold can cause illness, and it should be promptly removed with a bleach-based cleanser and the area allowed to completely dry with the help of a dehumidifier and/or fan.
Kitchens are high-risk zones for falls, which are often caused by wet floors, ice on the floor, grease spills, foods that have spilt (like beans) or items left in a walkway. Keep kitchen floors dry, and notify others with a sign to warn them when the floor is slippery from being cleaned. Always have a clear line of sight by not carrying items that are tall enough to block your line of sight.
Fires in kitchens can be prevented by exercising common sense. Place items like oven gloves, towels and plastic materials away from a stove when it is being used. Cooking oil should always be handled carefully, especially when frying foods. Be careful not to burden an electrical socket or power strip with too many appliances, which can cause an electrical fire.
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