Kitchens are the home of culinary magic, but they can also be a place where accidents happen. Data shows that kitchens are the most dangerous room in the home, along with bathrooms.
If you're running cooking classes, you need to be prepared for the safety risks that kitchens can pose. Boiling water, hot pans, knives, and the risk of fire can all result in serious injury.
If you do not have the right safety and legal protocols, you might find yourself in some figurative hot water should an accident occur to one of your students.
Fortunately, there are ways to help make the kitchen a safer place. Besides ramping up safety measures, you can also train your cooking students in thorough safety practices, and protect yourself legally in the unfortunate event that injury does occur.
Ready to increase safety levels in your cooking classes, lower the odds of anyone getting hurt, and protect yourself from legal action? Carry on reading for everything you need to know.
Get Your Kitchen up to Code
One of the first things you need to do when holding cooking classes is to get your kitchen areas up to code.
Make sure you have adequate smoke and CO detectors installed. If your cooking areas are already equipped with smoke detectors, check that the batteries are operational.
Next up, ensure that you have the required amount of fire extinguishers on hand. You also need to check that any existing fire extinguishers have been serviced and are easily accessible.
It's also worth getting the electricals checked out and making sure all electrical outlets are grounded. If you are using any appliances that are older than 10 years, you should get these checked as well for miscellaneous electrical faults.
Lastly, do all the cabinet doors and drawers close smoothly? Or do they tend to hang ajar once opened? If so, this can increase the chances of accidents as students move around the kitchen area.
Don't Overcrowd Cooking Areas
Another step to take to increase kitchen safety for your cooking classes is to make sure you're not crowding too many students into the cooking areas. Overcrowding is another element that can increase the chance of accidents and slip and fall injuries.
Get Accident Coverage
As mentioned above, if you're running cooking classes, it's essential that you get accident and injury coverage. Because kitchens come with a number of innate hazards, it may prove costly to not protect yourself from these legally.
If an accident occurs during your cooking classes, there's a possibility that the parents will want to be made whole for the out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by their health insurance (if they have it). If you don't hold accident and health insurance, parents are likely to sue—often for both medical and emotional damages.
This can cost you thousands if you have to pay out of pocket. Or alternately, if the damages go through your general liability coverage, this could potentially increase your premiums.
Have a Safety Orientated Dress Code
Before any students set foot in your cooking classes you should insist they adhere to a safe dress code.
This should include:
- Closed, durable shoes
- Long pants
- Long sleeves
- Tied back hair
- No long jewelry, scarves, or drapey clothing (like ponchos)
Besides this, all kids should either come with or be supplied with protective aprons.
Focus on Knife Safety in Your Cooking Classes
To reduce the chance of cuts and ensure that all students are schooled thoroughly on safe kitchen knife use.
Stats show that knives cause more debilitating injuries than any other hand tool. To help prevent kids from hurting themselves during knife work in your cooking classes, teach them not to:
- Cut towards themselves
- Leave knives in the sink
- Leave knives lying with points close to counter edges
- Walk with knives pointed outwards
All students should learn the basics of safe knife techniques, as well as which knives to use for which tasks. Also, make sure that all cutting boards are stable.
Lastly, while it might be tempting to leave knives dull, this can actually increase the chance of knife slippage and accidentally cuts. Therefore, make sure that the knives in your cooking classes are kept moderately sharp.
Teach Students How to Guard Against Fire and Cooking Burns
Along with knife safety, your cooking classes should also teach students how to guard against fire and cooking burns.
Whether they are working with gas or electric, frying or baking, drill into your students the dangers of leaving things like pot gloves and dish towels close to the stove. The same goes for oil, aerosols, paper, packaging, or any other flammable items.
With baking, students should learn to always check that the oven is empty before preheating. Also, stress to students the importance of never leaving the stove unattended.
When it comes to handling pots and pans, teach students to always use a pot glove when working with metal-handled pots.
Emphasize the dangers of steam burns, and insist that students open pot lids away from themselves so the steam escapes on the farther side of the pot.
Also, make sure you instill in students how careful they need to be when frying or working with hot oil.
Are You Looking for Reasonable Accident Insurance for Your Cooking Classes?
If you are running cooking classes you need to take every precaution possible to make sure accidents don't happen—especially if you're working with kids.
By getting your kitchen up to code and teaching your students safe kitchen protocols, you can reduce the risks of accidents and injuries.
However, no matter how safe you make your cooking classes, there will also be a chance of accidents. This is why it's also essential that you take out accident and injury coverage. If you fail to do so, you could face legal action and large financial losses.
If you are looking for competitive coverage for your cooking classes, you have come to the right place. Pomi specializes in coverage for educational organizations and after-school activities.
If you need to protect yourself and your students with the right coverage, contact us today to discuss your needs.