Knives are an essential tool in the kitchen, but they can also be very dangerous when not handled or cared for properly.
The 0ccupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that hand injuries cost the foodservice industry about $300 Million dollars per year in medical costs, lost time from work and worker’s compensation payouts.
Approximately 6,700 restaurant and bar employees had a fingertip or digit amputated between 1999 and 2003.
When using knives:
- There are many different types of knives in the professional kitchen. Always choose the right knife for the job.
- Always use a cutting board. This will aid in keeping your knives sharp. A dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one.
- Make sure that your hands are dry & the surface you’re working on is not slippery.
- Hold the knife firmly with your dominant hand.
- Direct your knife strokes away from your body when cutting.
- With the hand holding the food, curl your fingers under to minimize their exposure to the blade. Practice this until you master it!
When not using knives:
- After using a knife, clean it immediately and put it away.
- Carry only one knife at a time, tip pointed down at your side.
- Store knives securely in a knife block or in an appropriate rack with the sharp edges pointed away from you.
- Keep your knives sharp!! Your knife should easily perform the task at hand.
- Never toss a dirty knife into a sink or into a bus bucket with other dirty dishes. This could be a hazard for your dishwashing personnel.
Knife sharpening gadgets are extremely dangerous and do not belong in a professional kitchen. If you currently own one of these quick sharpening tools discard it immediately. These devices can and do cause devastating harm and injury to your staff!! Every chef should master sharpening a knife with a proper steel.