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Our guide to health and safety in the kitchen

The kitchen is the focal point of the British home; the social hub of a party; the place where culinary delights are created; and the location for families to exchange dinnertime stories. It is a well known fact that the majority of accidents happen in the home, and it is no surprise that most of these occur in the kitchen. The elderly and children are particularly susceptible when navigating around the various surfaces, often greeted with unstable objects and protruding corners.

Whichever relates to you, health and safety in the kitchen applies to everyone. If you have a kitchen at work, you are constantly reminded of the potential hazards with the help of animated signs, reinforced by the HR manager. Unfortunately, these guidelines do not exist in the average home, so we all have to be more vigilant of the dangers that can happen in the kitchen in order to enjoy our time in it.

Your kitchen should be ergonomically designed to reduce unnecessary movement and awkward manoeuvres. This applies particularly to the hob and oven area. Burns and scalding usually occur as a consequence of distraction, but there is some further protection if you use triple-glazed or cooling system ovens. These have a low surface temperature as they operate, and so prevent burning through accidental touches or leaning by children.

Hob areas are the most potentially dangerous, though they should all now have an automatic cut off installed so that the gas stops if the flame accidentally goes out. The hob should never be placed in front of a window precisely to prevent this from happening, and also to prevent curtains or blinds flapping dangerously near naked flames. When cooking, ensure that pan handles are not receiving heat from another hob or ring, and that you do not leave the handle hanging over the edge.

Always allocate sufficient space around the cooking surface. You will need an amount of worktop by the oven and hob so that hot and heavy items can be put down quickly. Fit plug sockets on either side of the hob so that appliances and their leads won’t need to be pulled across the hot surface. Lastly, always position the hob near to the sink so that it won’t be necessary to carry full pans very far and never put the units either side of a door. You do not want to collide with someone coming in whilst you are carrying boiling water.

Store your kitchen items wisely to minimise the risk of accidents. Heavy items and awkward pots and pans should be stored in the lower cupboards, while glassware and other lighter goods can be stored in wall cupboards. If items are exposed, they musty be positioned on a level worktop and so it cannot be dislodged.

Kitchens can easily become the dirtiest room in the house, but it is vitally important that they are also one of the most hygienic. Using certain materials in your fittings can make the kitchen easier to clean; granite and quartz worktops for example, are smooth, seamless and stain resistant. A well designed kitchen will try to avoid the common dirt and grime traps such as the joins around the sink and between worktops.

Changing your kitchen work surfaces is not only a good way to improve overall heath and safety, but one of the simplest methods of upgrading without being a major upheaval. John Porter worktops and kitchens understand the significance of health and safety, and offer a comprehensive range of quality kitchen worktops that guarantee peace of mind for their customers.

“Health and safety in the kitchen can and does get forgotten, particularly when rushing in back from work, or preparing a stressful dinner for the family, so we try to ensure that our worktops are fitted to the highest standard,” says John Porter. “This is why we recruit expert fitters, use the finest materials and adhere to the rigorous safety standards that are set. If all of this is achieved, then we know our customers are receiving the best possible service.”

So remember, the kitchen can be safe place to inhabit, we just need to be aware that accidents can and do happen. That reminds me, I have a dinner party next weekend….

Matthew Crick

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Categories: News
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