4 Kitchen Hazards Every Home Cook Should Know About

 

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The kitchen is perhaps the most significant part of the home, as families cook and share meals and conversations here. However, it is likely full of hazards because the smallest mistake can lead to a disaster. According to statistics, 160,000 children are injured in kitchen accidents every year in the US. Adults are also not safe if they fail to practice caution.

Risks abound due to the time people spend in this part of the living space. A recent survey states that Americans spend roughly 67 minutes here every day, totaling 400 hours a year. From sharp knives to hot surfaces and toxin exposure, you may encounter several hazards. You must take proper precautions to stay safe and avoid cooking mishaps.

Awareness can keep you a step ahead and ensure a safe cooking environment. In this article, we will highlight common kitchen hazards home cooks must steer clear of.

Burns and Scalds

During 2017–2021, cooking was the primary cause of reported home fires in the US, causing 44% of home structure fires per year. These events caused an average of 470 civilian deaths and 4,150 civilian injuries annually. Burns and scalds may occur due to different causes, from hot surfaces to steam, and spills in the kitchen.

The Instant Pot explosion is a risk that deserves a mention in this context. Although the device simplifies and speeds up the cooking process, you cannot overlook the risk of explosion while using it. Many victims face severe burn injuries and eye damage during these events. The worst part is that an explosion can occur without warning.

TorHoerman Law notes that victims are filing lawsuits against manufacturers, claiming compensation for injuries caused due to defective products. Thousands of Instant Pots and pressure cookers were taken off shelves between 2015 and 2021 to stave off further legal battles.

Besides choosing your appliances wisely, you must also take basic precautions while cooking. These include using oven mitts while handling hot cookware, being cautious while lifting lids to prevent steam burns, and avoiding loose clothing that may catch fire during cooking.

Knife Injuries

Nearly one-third of kitchen injuries involve knives, making it a hazard you should pay attention to. While you cannot cook without these essential tools, a minor slip with them can be disastrous. The best piece of advice is to hone your cutting skills before starting your stint as a full-time home cook. Until then, you can seek help or buy cut-and-chopped ingredients from the store.

Always use sharp knives, as dull blades are more likely to cause accidents. Always maintain a firm grip and use a cutting board to create a stable surface. Remember to store sharp cutting tools in a designated space to prevent accidental cuts when reaching for them. It is even more crucial if you have kids in the family.

Slips and Falls

Did you know that 15% of accidental deaths in the US happen due to slips, trips, and falls? Such mishaps are not confined to workplaces and retail establishments. Thousands of Americans sustain slip and fall injuries at home. The slippery floors, spills, and leaks in the kitchen make it one of the most dangerous areas in your living space.

A few precautions can save you from the disaster. Clean up spills immediately to prevent the hazards of slippery surfaces. Installing rugs or non-slip mats near food preparation areas and sinks is a good idea. Also, ensure that the floors are clear of clutter at all times. Your kitchen should have adequate lighting to ensure the visibility of potential hazards.

Electrical Hazards

According to 2022 data, approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the US occur due to electrical injuries. Unfortunately, people die at home due to faulty electrical appliances and a lack of caution. Electrical hazards abound in the kitchen because several gadgets and appliances used for cooking rely on electricity.

You can prevent electrical hazards by inspecting cords and plugs for any damage before using your appliances. Avoid overloading outlets because using multiple appliances per outlet can be hazardous. Keep cords and wires away from water and heat sources to minimize the risk of accidents. Also, remember to unplug appliances before cleaning and when not in use.

In conclusion, kitchen hazards are more common than you imagine, causing injuries and even fatalities. Fortunately, most of them are preventable, provided you are aware and vigilant. An organized kitchen space, proper cooking techniques, and safety precautions can be your saviors. With the right approach, you can enjoy your culinary experiences and stay safe.