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First aid emergency Fire and gas Kitchen appliances Ventilation Domestic cleaning products Food safety and allergies Kitchen floor

Introduction

Did you know?

Most accidents in the kitchen are due to carelessness, and nearly 50% involve using blunt knives.

It takes as few as 10 bacteria to make a person sick and on average, the kitchen sponge or cleaning- cloth has 134,630 bacteria. *1

Every day in Australia 11,500 people come down with some kind of foodborne disease. That’s 4.2 million cases of foodborne illness every year.

A reduction in food poisoning of just 20 per cent would save Australia over $500 million a year. *2

*1 Source: Your Kitchen is Trying to Kill You -- Injury Statistics Accessed 14/12/16
*2 Source: Food Poisoning Accessed 14/12/16

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First aid emergency

Common first aid resulting from kitchen injuries include cuts and burns. The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) require first aid facilities and equipment to be available and accessible to workers in the workplace.

What is required in providing first aid?

According to regulation 42(3) first aid requirements will vary from one workplace to the next depending on:

  • the nature of the work,
  • the type of hazards,
  • the workplace size and location,
  • as well as the number of people at the workplace.
These factors must be taken into account when deciding what first aid arrangements need to be provided.

Use a risk management approach to tailor first aid that suits the circumstances of your workplace.

Read more

Tips

  • First aid contact details easy to find.
  • Regular content check of kits.

Potential harm

Delayed treatment
Identified Hazards and Controls

Unavailable or non-qualified first aid officer

Cause

  • First aid officers - not available, non-existent or insufficiently trained
  • If you are a first aid officer make sure you keep your training up to date.
  • If you are not a first aid officer, know how to locate one quickly.
  • Know the location of the first aid room and the first aid kit.
  • Provide access to first aid services and equipment. Regulation 42(2) of the WHS Regulations 2011 states that a person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace or that workers have access to an adequate number of other people who have been trained to administer first aid.

Lack of content in first aid kit

Cause

  • Items being used and not reported and replaced.
  • Find out what the procedure is for reporting usage of the first kit.
  • Regularly audit all first aid kits to check the contents are in stock and in date.
  • See code of practice for first aid, appendix C for required contents of first aid kits.

Further information

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Fire/gas

Emergency procedures should be in place and tested from time to time as workers need to know how to respond in an emergency.

Tips

  • Stay calm.
  • Follow the wardens instructions during an emergency.
  • Know where the emergency exits are.

Potential harm

Burns
Smoke / gas inhalation
Identified Hazards and Controls

Fire

Cause

  • Burning foods that are not dealt with immediately.
  • Faulty electrical appliances.
  • Attempt to extinguish the fire if it is just starting (with an extinguisher or fire blanket). Fire blankets are best for extinguishing oil-based fires by smothering the flames.
  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Provide a fire blanket and suitable extinguisher in a prominent position.

    Which fire extinguisher to use?

    There are three basic types of fire extinguishers:

    Water based fire extinguishers are filled with pressurized water to put out combustible fires originating from wood or paper.

    Dry chemical fire extinguishers are filled with a dry chemical that smothers fires originating from gas or oil. Water will not put out these fires and could make them worse.

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers are used to extinguish electrical fires. Powder fire extinguishers can be used for both fat and oil fires as well as electrical fires.

    + Source: CCOHS website link to http://www.gallawayb2b.com/Whats-the-Difference-Between-Dry-Chemical-and-Carbon-Dioxide-Fire-Extinguishers

    http://www.mfs-fire-extinguishers.co.uk/types.htm

  • Display simple brief instructions on how to use a fire blanket to smother flames from burning fat or oil.
  • Display simple instructions on how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Check extinguishers have been tested and are affixed with tags.
  • Display the telephone number to call for assistance and to alert emergency services should they be required.

Leaking Gas

Cause

  • Gas appliances are faulty or not maintained.
  • Leaking gas has the potential to explode or the fumes can overcome workers in proximity of leak.
  • Report any odour of gas.

    Most people are familiar with the distinctive smell of gas either LPG or natural. In fact they are, odourless until impregnated with an additive.

    Without the addition of an odorant, leaking gas could collect without being detected.

    This would create a dangerous condition that could lead to an explosion or fire.

    Much research has gone into the science of odorants and Ethyl Mercaptan is almost universally recognised as the best choice.

    As a result, it is the most commonly used odourising agent.

    The smell of Ethyl Mercaptan is often compared to rotten cabbage. Ref: El Gas http://www.elgas.com.au/blog/654-the-smell-of-safety-odourised-gas

    It is important for workers to be aware that this additive may not always be present. In third world countries for example there may be no additive or an unfamiliar additive.

  • Take care when using older gas-fired or poorly serviced appliances. If you smell a different or unusual odour, immediately shut off the appliance and vacate the room.
  • Regular maintenance on gas equipment and appliances.
  • Develop procedures for dealing with gas leakage in the workplace (including shut off of gas supply and venting of gas affected areas).
  • Have clear emergency and evacuation procedures that are regularly tested.

Further information

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Kitchen appliances

Many different appliances can be found in a work kitchen with common risks associated with the electrical nature of kitchen appliances, cleanliness and the frequency of use.

Tips

  • Test and tag electrical items.
  • Read instructions before use.
  • Remove faulty appliances.

Potential harm

Burns
Electrical shocks
Cuts and abrasion
Identified Hazards and Controls

Boiling water units

Cause

  • Poorly placed boiling water units may increase chances of burns (e.g. too high where people have to reach up).
  • Leaky units.
  • Boiling water supply is hot enough to scald.
  • Watch what you are doing when using boiling water units.
  • Keep the cup close to the nozzle to avoid splashing.
  • Don’t overfill your cup.
  • Include kitchen appliances as part of health and safety inspections.
  • Select hot water units with safety devices built in to reduce the risk of scalding (such as maximum temperature settings).
  • Signage may be useful to warn users of hot water / steam especially if urns are used.
  • Arrange maintenance of faulty equipment.

Portable kitchen appliances

Cause

  • Contact with exposed wiring or any faulty appliance.
  • Immersing the body of an electrical appliance in water for cleaning purposes.
  • Failing to isolate an appliance from power supply before washing.
  • Making contact with heated areas of appliances.
  • Do not use faulty appliances.
  • Look at the electrical cable to make sure it isn’t frayed, cut or broken before using the appliance.
  • Always turn off and disconnect an electrical appliance from the power before cleaning.
  • Place a ‘caution hot’ sign next to hot appliances (such as sandwich toasters).
  • Test and tag all electrical appliances.
  • Remove any appliance which has been identified for repair.
  • Make the instructions for use of any appliance accessible to workers in a known location.
  • Place small signs near appliance power points as a reminder to switch off power and disconnect from socket prior to cleaning after use.
  • Provide signage (such as caution hot) to be placed next to appliances that emit radiant heat for a period of time after use (such as sandwich toasters).

Microwave ovens

Cause

  • Removing food from a microwave oven which is situated at or above eye level.
  • Spilt food left uncleaned in microwave.
  • Use of wrong type of food containers and covers.
  • Malfunction or misuse may cause leakage of radiation from microwave unit.
  • Don’t leave the microwave unattended when using it to cook / reheat food. The microwave oven at work may have a different wattage from the one you use at home and cooking times may vary to what you are used to.
  • Use oven mitts or hand towel to remove hot food from oven.
  • Clean up spills inside the microwave oven.
  • Check what utensils and containers can be used in the microwave as these may be different from your home microwave oven.
  • Only use electrical appliances that meet Australian Standards.
  • Where possible, microwave ovens should be placed on a counter top or built in at a height where it is easy to see inside and load or unload contents.
  • Encourage users to clean up spillages immediately.
  • Place sign on oven door listing those food container types and coverings which should not be used in the oven (i.e. metal objects, foil).
  • If the microwave appears damaged, remove it from service

Convention ovens/stovetops

Cause

  • Hotplates accidentally left on after user has finished cooking and left the area.
  • Using pots and pans which are not suitable for the type of cooker hotplates or rings.
  • Grasping oven shelves which are hot enough to cause burning.
  • Removing oven trays with food on them at completion of heating.
  • Use oven mitts or hand towel to remove hot food from oven.
  • Check you have turned the oven / cook top off when finished.
  • Consider purchasing a cooker which has warning lights to alert users to a hot surface.
  • Provide pots and pans which are designed for use on the type of cooker hotplates / rings, and are the correct diameter for the hot plates
  • Provide good quality oven mitts.

Knives/scissors

Cause

  • Contact with sharp and serrated knives which have been left on benchtops, placed in dishwasher or put away in drawers amongst other (non-sharp) cutlery.
  • Wrong choice of knife, or inappropriate method of cutting food, resulting in knife slipping and cutting.
  • Blunt knives.
  • Use knife blocks for very sharp knives.
  • Take care when washing and drying utensils.
  • Use chopping boards when using sharp knives.
  • Provide appropriate safe storage for very sharp knives used in food preparation (e.g. a knife block).
  • Advise workers not to put these knives in drawers hidden amongst sundry cutlery.
  • Instruct workers not to put very sharp knives in the dishwasher, but to wash them carefully by hand avoiding contact with the blade.
  • Provide a cutting surface (boards).
  • Sharpen knives regularly.

Further information

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Ventilation

As part of the building, air conditioning system ventilation is the process of removing and replacing air in the building. Sometimes supplemental ventilation can be provided by exhaust fans in kitchens, printer rooms and bathrooms.

Tips

  • Use extractor fans.

Potential harm

Breathing issues
Identified Hazards and Controls

Poor ventilation

Cause

  • Poor ventilation leading to food odours, heat and steam build up from cooking.
  • Use exhaust fans in areas where cooking is producing strong odours, or open a window.
  • Provide a designated cooking / kitchen area for food preparation.
  • Install a ceiling or window mounted extractor fan or a range hood above the stove to disperse smoke.
  • Instruct users to switch on the extractor fan and / or range hood before starting to prepare food, which may burn, smoke or steam.

Further information

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Domestic cleaning products

Chemicals which are generally for domestic use and considered safe in the home may present greater risks in the workplace depending on the frequency, duration and use in which they are used.

Domestic consumer products (cleaning chemicals) and theraputic goods require labelling under the Poisons Standard and the Theraputic Goods Act 1989 (Cth).

If you are using  a domestic chemical in a manner different to normal household use, you should obtain sufficient information about the safe use, handling and storage of that consumer product. It is common practice for manufacturers to provide safety data sheets.

Read more

Tips

  • Use cleaning chemicals only for their intended use.
  • Follow instructions and handle with care.
  • Store away from food.

Potential harm

Allergies
Poisoning
Skin rash
Identified Hazards and Controls

Storage and handling

Cause

  • Chemicals stored above head height may spill on the worker when lifting them down.
  • Chemicals not securely contained potentially producing odours / fumes.
  • Chemicals not stored in original containers.
  • Always read and follow usage instructions.
  • Store chemicals away from food and put them back when you are finished using them.
  • Know who the first aid officer is and how to contact them quickly.
  • Be aware that some individuals can suffer asthma or allergic reactions from certain types of spray cleaners, perfumes and liquids.
  • Ensure that the chemicals are clearly labelled and stored away from food.
  • Store chemicals out of reach of children.
  • Leave the original labelling on each container.
  • Check the cleaners stores to see if any bulk chemicals are stored that may be subject to stricter controls. Refer to information on Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling from www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au
  • Ensure sufficient information about the safe use, handling and storage of any consumer product is accessible to workers.  An SDS may be available for the particular chemical which will contain sufficient information.
  • Where possible, substitute hazardous chemicals with less toxic alternatives.

Labelling and identification

Cause

  • Substances kept in containers without proper labels.
  • Do not use an unlabelled product.
  • Decanting should only occur in accordance with Safety Data Sheets and procedures.
  • Record details of all substances kept.
  • Maintain a file of Safety Data Sheet for all substances used and stored by the workplace.
  • Maintain strict controls on decanting of substances.
  • Clearly mark all substances and ensure the labels are correct.
  • If the contents (of the container) cannot be identified, they should be disposed of in accordance with relevant local waste management requirements.
  • Conduct regular inspections.

Spillages

Cause

  • Containers not secured properly.
  • Secure lids properly after use.
  • Only clean up spills for known chemicals if safe to do so.
  • Report spills to your employer.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with the Safety Data Sheet if you clean up a spill.
  • Do not puncture or otherwise damage pressure containers.
  • Ensure sufficient information about the safe use, handling and storage of any consumer product is accessible to workers.  An Safety Data Sheet may be available for the paticular chemical which will contain sufficient information.
  • Have personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the requirements of the Safety Data Sheet available (eg. face masks/ breathing apparatus etc).
  • Provide workers with instructions on how to clean up spillages or make the area safe and the required contact information if specialist clean-up is required.
  • Warn others to stay clear of spillage site.
  • Update emergency response plans.

First aid treatment

Cause

  • Contact with a substance.
  • Follow recommended first aid information provided on the Safety Data Sheet (where available).
  • Know how to contact the first aid officer.
  • Provide first aid officers with information about treatment for skin or eye contact and for inhaling or accidentally swallowing substances used at the workplace.
  • Display first aid and emergency contact phone numbers in obvious positions in the workplace
  • Make Safety Data Sheet readily available.
  • Check first aid officers are familiar with the types of chemicals in use at the workplace and what the appropriate response is to spill or emergency.

Further information

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Food safety & allergies

Food poisoning can be caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, chemicals or poisonous metals such as lead or cadmium. Food which has become contaminated with harmful bacteria does not always taste bad.

Most of the time it looks, smells and tastes like it normally does. Many people can have allergic reactions to certain foods. These can even be triggered by the odour of the food

Read more

Tips

  • Wash your hands before handling food.
  • Wash dishes thoroughly.
  • Advise of any food allergies.

Potential harm

Allergies
Poisoning
Identified Hazards and Controls

Eating utensils

Cause

  • Spread of bacteria via food residue on dishes, food and drink containers, cooking pots and microwaves, which have been inadequately washed or cleaned after use.
  • Use dishwasher if available.
  • If there is no dishwasher, wash dishes thoroughly with dishwashing liquid and warm water.
  • Use clean tea towels and cloths for wiping utensils.
  • Have the dishwasher cleaned, including filters, on a regular basis as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Where there is no dishwasher installed, provide clean washing brushes/cloths and tea towels.
  • Launder tea towels regularly.
  • Carry out regular inspections of the kitchen to check that staff are practising sound hygienic practice.

Dish clothes and tea towels

Cause

  • Using unclean dish cloths and tea towels
  • Always use clean tea towels and cloths or disposable paper towel when washing or wiping utensils.
  • Launder tea towels regularly.
  • Provide sufficient changes of dish cloths and tea towels so that these can be rotated when laundering becomes necessary.
  • Dispose of dishcloths as necessary.

Food contamination

Cause

  • Contamination by mould and bacteria from food left uncovered or in the refrigerator too long .
  • People failing to wash their hands before preparing food.
  • Incorrect storage of foods in the fridge.
  • Wash your hands before handling food.
  • Be responsible for your own food that you place in the fridge.
  • Cover food appropriately.
  • Clean up any spillages you make and report any potential hygiene issues.
  • Organise for the refrigerator to be emptied at regular intervals and cleaned.
  • Provide hand cleaner or sanitiser in kitchens.
  • Place signs in kitchen area and in the toilets to remind all workers to wash hands.

Allergies

Cause

  • Workers may have sensitivities to a variety of triggers. In the kitchen this could be foods such as nuts, shellfish, milk etc.
  • Advise your PCBU of any allergy you have that may be triggered by the work environment.
  • Keep any relevant medication with you.
  • Be aware of any allergy other workers may have disclosed and avoid bringing those food products into the office.
  • Encourage workers with food allergies (e.g. anaphylaxis) to make the employer and other workers aware of their condition.
  • Implement appropriate exposure prevention measures (e.g. nut free policy or nut awareness policy) and response procedures (e.g. first aid officers trained for delivering an epipen).
  • Make workers aware if they have colleagues with allergies and what precautions or policies are in place (e.g. placing appropriate signs in kitchens).

Refrigerators

Cause

  • Refrigerator temperature is consistently higher than the recommended temperature for safe food storage.
  • Food is left in refrigerator until mouldy or past its safe ‘use by’ date.
  • Report issues such as old food or drink in the fridge or throw it out.
  • Report any defects in the refrigerator to your PCBU.
  • Check the fridge door closes and seals properly after you use it.
  • Periodically check that refrigerator temperature complies with requirements for safe storage and if required locate a thermometer in the fridge.
  • Arrange for refrigerator to be periodically emptied and the inside washed and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Further information

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Kitchen floor

Kitchen floors have a number of unique health and safety hazards. Kitchen floors are usually not carpeted and therefore the surface will offer less grip or traction, spills can be more frequent and they can be high traffic areas.

Tips

  • Watch where you are walking.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Maintain good housekeeping.

Potential harm

Slips Trips Falls
Identified Hazards and Controls

Slips, Trips and Falls

Cause

  • Highly polished floors.
  • Smooth surfaces used in wet areas.
  • Occasional spills.
  • Cracked tiles or damaged floor surface.
  • Pay attention to where you are walking and changes in the surface from carpet to tiles.
  • Be mindful of what shoes you are wearing. A shoe with a tread will have better grip than a smooth soled shoe.
  • Clean up small spills when you notice them.
  • Turn the lights on before entering the kitchen.
  • Choose a non-slip floor material or one with a textured surface.
  • Use slip resistant floor tiles.
  • Use a non-slip polish or cleaner.
  • If terrazzo or similar surface, have walk areas abraded (roughened) to remove shine.
  • Choose plain floor patterns without swirls or 3D images.
  • Good lighting in areas with transitions between floor textures helps people see the changes.
  • Clean kitchens regularly and remove waste.
  • Have a procedure in place for quickly cleaning up reported spills.

Further information