There can always be a mistake, and someone in the kitchen,
preferably you, should be trained in at least basic first aid. Contact the
American Red Cross for a class or two, it is one of the most valuable
things you can do for you and your friends.
Food Poisoning, Spoilage and Temperature Control
Keep foods either hot or cold. The bacteria that cause spoilage and
food poisoning grow best when food is luke warm. Be especially careful
with raw poultry, seafood and foods with a base of eggs, such as
mayonnaise or egg salad, or bread, like stuffings or puddings.
Make sure the temperature in your refrigerator is 40 degrees or
under. Get a good thermometer for the fridge, keep it in there where you
can see it, and check it often.
Keep shrimp, lobster, oysters and such in the refrigerator on ice.
Ideally, put the seafood on top of the ice, and the ice in a colander or
other bowl with holes in it so that when the ice melts it can drain into
When you want to refrigerate a hot dish, first leave it for a bit in
a cool spot with the lid ajar so that it can cool down before you put it
in the refrigerator. If you put a hot dish in before it cools, it will
warm up the refrigerator, endangering everything else in there.
A soon as you have served a stuffed bird such as a turkey, remove
the stuffing that is left in the bird so that it can cool down faster.
In addition to the foodstuffs, there are a lot of chemicals in the
kitchen compliment. Here are some that are pertinent to safety:
Drain cleaners, bleaches and strong acids can be dangerous. Never
mix different types of these products, explosions or dangerous gasses
may result. Make sure these are always used strictly according to the
directions on the package, and make sure that the containers are
properly sealed when not in use.
Carbon monoxide results from incomplete burning of fuel. Monoxide
poisoning can result from improperly adjusted or poorly vented gas
appliances. Have your's professionally checked occasionally. Also, never
use charcoal briquettes or the like to cook or heat indoors.
Volatiles, such as cleaning fluids, gasoline, kerosene and such are
often flammable, can easily cause fires and explosions, and should never
be stored in a kitchen.
Pesticides such as bug killers, roach poison and rodent bait should
be considered dangerous. If you get them on your hands, wash them off.
When you use them, make sure there is no uncovered food they can get
into. Be sure they are not accessible to children or pets. Store
carefully, and preferably not in the kitchen.
If you must store cleaning chemicals and other possibly toxic
non-food items in the kitchen, always store them on shelves below
foodstuffs, so if they leak, they can't get into your food.
Slips and Falls
Soapy water, grease and oils, and things like the traditional
banana peel are standard in kitchens and are all slippery. Here are a
couple ways to keep slips and falls to a minimum.
If you spill something on the floor, clean it up. Keep a mop or such
handy for this purpose.
Often when you are working in the kitchen you are moving fast. Don't
leave boxes, stools, bags of groceries or anything else out on the floor
where they can trip up a fast moving cook.
Glazed floor tile is beautiful, but dangerous. Not only does glazed
tile guarantee that anything breakable that is dropped on it will break,
but a thin coating of oil or soapy water can make it slick as ice. If
you have a choice, avoid glazed tile for kitchen floors.
Safety around Kitchen Electricity
Keep your eyes on the electricity in your kitchen, it can
electrocute you, or burn your place down if it gets loose.
Keep an eye on all electrical cords. Watch for any breaks or cuts,
or frayed areas where the cord passes over an edge or something has sat
on it. Repair any damage you find.
Don't overload circuits by using multiple plugs, extension cords or
the like. If you have old wiring, it is often a good idea to get it
checked by a professional for load carrying capacity.
Don't use appliances near the sink or other water. If one falls in,
it can electrocute anyone nearby. If you must have a wall socket near
the sink, make sure it has a "Ground Fault Interrupter" type socket
Glass Utensils on Kitchen Burners, Explosion Danger
Something I hadn't heard of before was recently brought to my
attention. I have always been wary of glass utensils over fire, but Paul
Griffo says they can go off like a grenade if really badly treated. To
"It happened while we were on vacation in Florida. Our condo had
electric burners. Someone left an empty glass casserole dish on the
burner, which was accidentally left on. A little while later, BOOM! Thank
God no one--especially none of my children--were standing close by."
Thanks for that tidbit Paul.
The Icons below will guide you to the other Kitchen Safety Pages