What Are the Basic Knife and Kitchen Safety Rules?

The kitchen is a surprisingly dangerous place and it’s shocking to learn that accidents in the home cost the NHS a whopping £45 billion each year! Moreover, a staggering number of these accidents take place in the kitchen with this being the most dangerous room in the house.

So, it goes without saying that when preparing and cooking meals, we need to be extra vigilant. While most of us are guilty of becoming extremely complacent in the kitchen, we could make some small changes that will vastly reduce the risk of an accident.

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Knife Safety

Whether you have just invested in a beautiful new Japanese knife set or simply have a favourite chef’s knife, there’s no doubt that these are some of the riskiest tools in your kitchen. Learning basic knife safety is imperative regardless of whether you’re a professional chef or a domestic whizz.

Correct Storage

When a sharp knife is not in use, it should be stored in a safe and suitable location. For easy access when you need your sharp knives, you might consider installing a magnetic knife holder. These are common in commercial kitchens as you can quickly grab a knife when you need one but those blades are well out of the way when not in use, not just rattling around in a drawer. Knife blocks are a great way to store your knife properly, ensuring the cutting edge is well guarded and to prevent any falling knife from causing harm to feet and anything or anyone on the floor. 

Another excellent space-saving storage solution is an in-drawer knife block. These allow you to safely stow away the blades without taking up precious worktop space.

Sharpen Regularly

You might not think so, but a dull knife is far more dangerous than a sharp one. When cutting with a dull blade, there is a much higher risk of slipping which would result in a nasty injury. For this reason, it’s imperative to sharpen your blades frequently and hone them as needed. Some chefs hone their knives after every use and while this may be excessive to some, it certainly keeps the blades in good condition. A knife sharpener is relatively cheap to buy, and will make all the difference in keeping your knives sharp, and preventing knife slips.

Cutting Uneven Foods

If you are cutting food that is round or uneven, it can be useful to use your slicing knife to remove a small portion creating a flat side. This will make the food easier to cut and reduce the risk of the knife slipping and cutting you.

A cutting board will provide a more stable cutting surface, protect your worktop and prevent any slipping on the worktop. Some chopping boards even have small rubber feet on the reverse side to give a more secure grip, helping you to stay safe.

Use Proper Cutting Techniques

It pays to learn correct cutting and knife techniques. These knife skills have been developed for efficiency and safety. While they do take some time to get to grips with, your fingertips will thank you in the long run. We have some great tips on learning Japanese cutting techniques that could save you a trip to A&E.

Don't Rush

It can be tempting to rush through the food prep so that you can feed your family quickly. However, when you rush things, there is a much greater risk of an accident. To avoid this, be sure to take your time and use your knives at a speed that suits you. As you become more adept with them, you may be able to get through cutting tasks more easily but always keep in mind that it is not a race.

Choose the Right Knife

You will notice that there are several different types of knives and they’re all designed for a unique purpose. Using the wrong knife for the job could be lethal. Imagine using a knife from your cheese knife set to carve a turkey and you’ll quickly see why there could be an issue. Buying a high-quality knife set will provide you with all the different utensils you need to work safely in the kitchen. If you need to prepare an apple, choose your small paring knife; if you need to slice some vegetables, a santoku knife might be the better choice.

Basic Kitchen Safety

Knives are not the only risky items in the kitchen so it’s a good idea to have some safety regulations in place for other common kitchen activities.

Think About Food Hygiene

Some foods can be eaten raw while others taken the same way could lead to some pretty nasty symptoms like vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and other things. This is why it is super important to make sure that you use different chopping boards for meats and vegetables.

However, if you absolutely must use the same chopping board for meat and vegetables it is imperative to thoroughly clean it between foods to stop cross-contamination and prevent the spread of things like salmonella.

Protect Your Feet

We all think about protecting our hands in the kitchen but our feet are often forgotten but it’s quite possible to injure them in the kitchen. For example, sharp falling objects could cut the feet and if you were to spill hot water, sauces or oil, your feet are at risk of being scalded.

To prevent accidents like this, we recommend wearing a pair of protective shoes when working in the kitchen. This will also stop you from stepping on potentially dangerous items that have been accidentally dropped such as glass.

Stir Correctly

It might seem like a minor thing but stirring and lifting foods that are on the heat can cause burns and scalds. To avoid this, make sure that you only ever stir away from your body. Any splashes will be sent in the opposite direction and you’ll be kept safe.

Turn Your Pan Handles Around

This is something that many of us are taught from a young age but not enough of us are in the habit of doing it. Keeping your panhandles turned inwards so that they do not obstruct walkways is vital, especially if there are children in the home. All it takes is one person not to notice the handle, knock into the pan and be splashed with hot liquids and scalded.

Final Thoughts

Working in the kitchen is no joke and there are hazards all around you. But it doesn’t mean that every time you cook dinner you will leave with an injury. Applying basic kitchen safety rules will ensure that your time in the kitchen is enjoyable and free from cuts, burns and other accidents.
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