Designed to reduce employee exposure to chemical, biological, electrical, mechanical and physical hazards, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for anyone facing health and safety risks at work. Personal Protective Equipment may include gloves, goggles, shoes, ear plugs, hard hats, respirators, face masks, or coveralls, vests and full body suits. When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not enough, PPE offers another layer of protection.
The main risk areas in the catering and hospitality sectors are caused by slips and trips, contact dermatitis and manual handling accidents. Although accidents — in particular, knife accidents — are common in kitchen jobs, that doesn’t mean the risk can’t be minimized. As well as training employees in the safe use and sharpening of knives and other equipment, the right PPE can help minimize health and safety risks to protect employees.
Your kitchen should have:
- Foundry products of metal
- Oven gloves
- Cut resistant gloves
- Protective guards
- Protective footwear
- Anti-slip mats
- Safety knives
- Proper knife storage and disposal
- Hair nets and beard snoods
- Safety glasses
- An apron
- Kitchen first aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
1. Findable metal products
Designed to minimize the risk of contaminating food products, metal detecting products are essential in food production spaces. Whether it’s your bowls and jugs, cleaning products, or the pens you use to mark dates, metal-detecting versions are essential to keep your customers safe, and to maintain health and safety requirements.
2. Oven gloves
This may seem obvious but it is essential: oven gloves. Oven gloves protect your hands and arms from burns and bruises when handling heat-conducting equipment (eg pots, pans, oven trays).
3. Cut resistant gloves
Gloves help reduce the risk of contamination between kitchen staff and customers, as well as offering a layer of protection from cuts. For extra sharp knives, cut resistant gloves should be used.
4. Protective guards
A sure way to prevent further cuts, bruises and burns is with protective guards. These are often built into equipment (eg fryer and guard grills), so it is important that employees know how to use and maintain them for optimal protection.
5. Safety knives
If you cut packaging, straps, cable ties, twine or netting on a regular basis, you should use a safety knife. They have a blade suitable for opening boxes, but there is no risk of direct contact.
For regular kitchen knives, make sure all employees know how to use and focus one. It may be counterintuitive, but a sharp knife is safer than a dull one.
6. Proper knife storage and disposal
Kitchen knives should be stored in a professional knife block or case. When on the move, knives can also be stowed in a secure belt holster for safe transport and access.
Although you can throw knives in the general waste bin (after it has been flattened and wrapped in protective materials), we recommend a blade disposal bench and/or a used blade disposal container. The disposal box shortens your snap-off blades, and is large enough to store a number of used blades.
7. Protective footwear
Providing footwear adequate slip resistance and protection against penetration by a falling knife should be worn in the kitchen.
To avoid further slips and trips,
- Be sure to mop up spills immediately after they occur. Oil and grease are much more difficult to clean, and may require specialist floor cleaning.
- Use wet floor signs to alert employees and visitors to the spill.
- Keep trip hazards in proper storage.
8. Anti-slip floor mats
To take slip protection to the next level, place anti-fatigue (anti-slip) floor mats in the kitchen. These have wide holes for emptying and pulling the feet, and a grip or pull base to prevent movement.
9. Hairnets & beard snoods
Hair nets and beard snoods ensure that hair does not contaminate food in the kitchen, and that food production is completed in a safe and hygienic manner.
10. Kitchen first aid kit
First aid kits are essential all workplaces, to ensure that employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or become ill at work (before medical professionals arrive). A kitchen first aid kit, in particular, should include:
- Bandages, plasters and dressings
- Sterile eye wash and eye dressings
- Burn treatment and dressings
- Alcohol-free wipes
- Disposable nitrile gloves
- Foil blanket
- Safety scissors
- Safety pins
- Resuscitation face protection
11. Safety glasses
Safety glasses help protect your eyes from accidental splashes of cleaning fluids (or oil) in the kitchen.
Although not strictly essential, the use of an apron adds an additional layer of protection against hot liquids, food and equipment.
13. Fire extinguisher
All kitchens must have a fire extinguisher, or a more advanced fire system, in place. There is four classes of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out a different type of fire. For kitchens, a wet chemical fire extinguisher is required.
And there you have it — a complete list of the most essential PPE and safety gear for your kitchen staff.
Written by Holly, for morSafe Supplies.