More than 60 per cent of injury claims in the food-service industry involve kitchen workers who routinely work with tools and equipment that can cause serious injury. In British Columbia, there were 269 serious injuries in restaurants in 2017 and 47 per cent of those happened to kitchen workers.
Around 97,000 people in B.C. work in kitchens as chefs, cooks, food-counter attendants and helpers. They can be found in workplaces spanning many industries — from restaurants and pubs to institutional kitchens, from remote work camps to mobile catering.
That’s why WorkSafeBC partnered with go2HR and well-known local chefs to produce a video series for employers and workers about the safe use of knives, meat slicers and deep fryers, and how to prevent burns, scalds, slips, trips, falls and lifting injuries.
“Commercial kitchens have the potential to be a recipe for risk,” said Lisa Houle, manager, industry and labour services, at WorkSafeBC. “They contain lots of sharp, heavy, hot objects; the pace of work is demanding; and they have high employee turnover, so there’s a constant need for training. These videos provide tips from experienced industry professionals that even the home cook will find useful.”
Isabel Chung, executive chef at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, is featured in the series, along with Dennis Green (executive chef, go2HR), Cindy Hamilton (owner, Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck) and Jeff Szombaty (executive chef, Hyatt Regency).
“Safety’s always been a consideration in the kitchen,” Chung says. “From a young employee’s point of view, if your employer won’t listen to you, they’re not worth working for.”
The videos, along with the resources listed below, will help provide important training for kitchen workers, regardless of the size of operation or industry, says WorkSafeBC.