SAIF Produces Kitchen Safety Videos

New data from SAIF shows restaurant workers had an injury frequency twice as high as that of the services industry as a whole, and last year, the company received more than 2,700 injury claims from the restaurant industry.

SAIF Corporation, Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company that has been in operation since 1914, has produced a video series about kitchen safety. New data from SAIF shows restaurant workers had an injury frequency twice as high as that of the services industry as a whole, and last year, the company received more than 2,700 injury claims from the restaurant industry.

It says the training videos address hazards in commercial kitchens but also offer tips viewers can take home. "When you think of workplace injuries, you probably think of high-risk industries like agriculture or logging. You probably don't consider the restaurant industry, even though it has among the highest number of injuries per employee of any Oregon industry," the company says.

"The good news is that injury frequency is decreasing year over year, which we think is very promising," said Leigh Manning, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. "In addition, most injuries did not result in time-loss days, indicating many were not extensive injuries."

The company's data indicate most of the injuries were cuts, usually from knives. Other injuries included slips, trips, and falls; strains and sprains; and burns. The "Kitchen Safety Showdown" video series features two chefs squaring off on safety precautions in the kitchen. The videos are available here in English and also here in Spanish.

"We want to raise awareness of little things you can do around the kitchen to make a big difference on safety," said Manning. "While we created these videos with industrial kitchens in mind, many of these tips can be used in your home kitchen, too."

Her tips for kitchen safety, at home or on the job, are:

  • Always use the right knife for the task. Sharpen knives regularly and, when you're done, never leave knives soaking in the sink.
  • Store the heaviest ingredients in the middle shelves of your pantry to avoid bending and reaching.
  • Use a step stool to get to hard-to-reach items. Never use a chair or a box.
  • Lift heavy items safely: Flex knees, keep elbows close to your body, and maintain a natural curve in your back.
  • Every industrial kitchen needs to have a fire extinguisher that's checked monthly and serviced yearly. Consider having one in your home kitchen, too.

More information is available at www.saif.com/kitchensafety.

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