(Common Kitchen Injuries and How to Avoid Them)
Separating Frozen Hamburger Patties:
An article by David Brown appeared in September 2011’s Yahoo Sports about baseball player Jeremy Affeldt. The article relayed how Affeldt decided to use a knife to separate frozen hamburger patties at a family gathering. He wound up (baseball pun intended) slicing his hand open very seriously. He missed the rest of that baseball season as a consequence. Let this be a lesson to us all. If a professional athlete in the prime of life seriously injures himself trying this, maybe the rest of us should just learn from his mistake. If you forget to thaw out your patties, run them under cold water, defrost them in the microwave a little, or maybe eat your salad first and be patient while they thaw out a bit on their own.
Dr. Mark Fieldman authored a blog article entitled, “Seven things your mother never told you that will keep you out of trouble (and the ER)”. In the article he covers the how-to of bagel cutting. Here are his instructions: Place the knife gently atop the (vertically-oriented) bagel. Place your hand on top of the knife. Cut down onto the cutting board, not your hand. Do you think maybe Dr. Fieldman has seen a-few-too many folks in his ER who have gotten into the habit of cutting bagels into the palm of their hands?
Cutting Board Slips:
Dr. Fieldman mentioned using a cutting board to cut your bagel. What he didn’t mention was “the cutting board slip”. (Maybe he doesn’t see as many of these in his ER). An unanchored cutting board can result in a knife and a cutting board going their separate (and unpredictable) ways. Instead of cutting your food, that knife can you instead. Try cutting on a non-slip surface, or place a damp cloth or a rubber pad under the cutting board to keep it from slipping. And if you don’t own a good cutting board, now’s as good a time as any to invest in one, or put it on your Christmas or birthday list.
If you know any insurance adjustors, they will tell you that kitchen fires are very common. Here are a few tips to help minimize the risk of kitchen fires:
- Keep pot and pan handles turned inward on your stove to avoid upending flammable contents.
- Keep loose sleeves and flammable materials away from the hot stove.
- Don’t multi-task when using your oven or stove especially when using oils/fats. (Yes, I know how distracting Facebook can be.)
- Once your coffee is brewed, turn off your coffee maker. (Keep it hot in a carafe instead of using the machine’s element. It reduces fire risk and the coffee tastes better because it won’t get burned.)
- Invest in a fire extinguisher rated for kitchen use. They only cost about $25. (Why not put that on your Christmas or birthday list too?)
To avoid some of these common kitchen injuries/hazards, start by focusing on just one thing at a time. Rather than making anyone feel guilty for what they are not doing, we hope something from part 1, 2 or 3 of this blog has inspired you to make a change. And hey, if there is more than one thing, look at the bright side, maybe your Christmas/birthday list is almost finished!
Do you work in an ER? Are you aware of some other common kitchen injuries? Let us know about them and how to avoid them.
Gord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.