Knives, graters and other sharp kitchen tools can cause injuries. These need to be used with care to prevent cut and puncture injuries.
How are workers harmed?
Injuries from knives, graters and other sharp kitchen tools can happen to workers when:
- using knives for purposes for which they were not designed (opening bags or boxes)
- sharpening knives or other blades
- retrieving knives from storage areas
- cleaning slicers and coming into contact with the edges of the blade
- handling a blade unexpectedly (when washing up)
- coming into contact with knives placed blade-up in a dishwasher
- handling damaged or broken glass and crockery
- handling sharp-edged objects (graters and vegetable peelers).
What you can do
First you must always eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. Here are some examples:
- Try to avoid using knives where possible.
- Ensure that equipment with blades is securely fixed to the bench.
- Use bull nose knives rather than pointed-end knives where possible.
- Provide a magnetic strip for knife storage.
- Provide knives with handles that are appropriate to the job and comfortable to use.
- Train all workers in the safe use and storage of knives.
You need to select the most effective controls that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.
Get your workers involved
- Ensure your workers know how to make suggestions, ask questions or raise concerns.
- Always ask your workers for input on identifying health and safety risks and how to eliminate or minimise them. People are more likely to take responsibility and make good decisions when they have been involved in the conversation. Your workers (including contractors and temps) are the eyes and ears of your business. They can help spot issues, and suggest practical, cost-effective solutions.
- Always train your workers on what the key risks are and how to keep healthy and safe.