Restaurant kitchens have plenty of potential hazards. Sharp knives, falling pans and boiling liquids are just a few risk factors chefs have to be wary of on a daily basis. We’ve listed some of the most common injuries chefs face and some solutions on how to avoid them from happening in the first place. Check out these common chef injuries and improve your kitchen safety.
Most chefs have suffered a cut whilst chopping ingredients. In worse cases, some chefs have had fingers amputated when lacerations are too severe.
There are different types of dangerous equipment and utensils in a restaurant kitchen. As a chef, you’re trained to use knives, cleavers, graters and slicing machines but accidents can still happen.
It’s important to return knives when you’ve finished using them. Encouraging chefs to keep their work areas tidy can help avoid knives falling off countertops or accidentally cutting someone.
When you’re working with dangerous equipment on a daily basis, you can easily forget knives can cause major harm. Following safe practice can help you avoid kitchen accidents.
2. Back pain
Back pain is a common injury suffered by chefs. Being on your feet for long hours at a time and lifting heavy pots puts immense strain on your back. When you’re standing for most of your shift, your spine receives most of the repercussions. Even when you go home to rest, your back can be aching for days, weeks or even longer.
To reduce the strain on your back, your should try to keep moving in the kitchen. Avoid standing still for too long. There are exercises you can do whilst you’re working to relieve tension in your back.
Kitchen cupboards don’t cater for the different heights of each chef. Instead of struggling to reach up, use a stool or step ladder. When picking up heavy pots and pans ask for help. Kitchens are busy workplaces but your colleagues will be happy to help. Getting help is faster than struggling to lift something and it saves you the back pain later.
One of the most common chef injuries suffered at work is burns and scalds. Chefs work constantly around frying pans, boiling water/sauces and open flames. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get burnt. In worst cases, some chefs have suffered severe burns that resulted in having time off work for recovery.
Stopping bad habits is one way to reduce kitchen accidents.
Many chefs are guilty of leaning over boiling pans or working too close to open fires. Because they normally do it without incident, they think it’s safe. It’s important to always respect safety rules in the kitchen. Restaurant kitchens are always running at a fast pace and accidents can come out of nowhere.
4. Chef’s Foot
The term ‘Chef’s Foot’ is used to describe Hallux Rigidus which is arthritis in the big toe. Long term stress from working on your feet can cause the cartilage to thin in the joints of your foot. Whilst you might think it’s not too bad having pain in one toe, your big toe is very important. It helps maintain your balance and supports your body when you’re walking.
There are other foot conditions chefs are prone to getting. Plantar fasciitis is excessive heel pain which is often caused by wearing shoes without arch support. Constant stress on your feet can make you more vulnerable to arthritis.
One of the best ways to reduce the chance of developing Chef’s Foot or other painful foot conditions, is to wear appropriate shoes for work. As a chef, you cannot wear just any type of shoes at work. Wearing your trainers might feel comfortable for a short while, but they don’t give your feet adequate support.
Chef's shoes are designed for chefs, they support each area of the foot to help reduce the chance of developing any type of foot pain or condition.
5. Slips, trips and falls
Health & Safety Executive’s Injuries At Work report 2014/2015 shows there were over 20,000 slips and trips reported. Slips, trips and falls are common injuries for most workplaces but in a kitchen, where there is a high risk of wet and greasy floors, there is an increased chance of suffering a slip, trip or fall.
Having a fall at work can cause serious injury and result in you having to take time off. You can reduce the chance of slipping or falling at work by wearing slip-resistant shoes.
Slip-resistant work shoes are excellent for chefs because they help reduce accidents in the kitchen. The kitchen floor easily gets wet with water, grease and sauces. When you’re focused on your own tasks, you might not always see the hazards on the floor. Slip-resistant shoes gives you effective grip on slippery surfaces.
Check out our slip-resistant chef's shoes
Wearing the right shoes can reduce the chance of you suffering an injury at work. Our chef's shoes at Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd. were created with chefs in mind. Along with high quality slip resistance, they have effective arch support which gives your feet all the support they need when you’re working a long shift.
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Not convinced? See the difference between trainers and slip-resistant work shoes
Which shoes are better for work? We tested a high street trainer against one of our popular styles to see which won in value, style, comfort, durability and safety. See the results: