SAIF cooks up kitchen safety series [video]

Training addresses industry with high rate of injuries--with tips you can take home, too.

When you think of workplace injuries, you probably think of high-risk industries like agriculture or logging. You probably don't consider the restaurant industry, even though it has among the highest number of injuries per employee of any Oregon industry.

That's according to new data from SAIF, which found that restaurant workers had an injury frequency that was twice as high as that of the services industry as a whole. In 2017, SAIF received more than 2,700 injury claims from the restaurant industry.

"The good news is that injury frequency is decreasing year-over-year--which we think is very promising," said Leigh Manning, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. "In addition, most injuries did not result in time-loss days, indicating many were not extensive injuries."

According to SAIF data, most of the injuries were cuts, usually from knives. Other injuries included slips, trips, and falls; strains and sprains; and burns.

To help address safety hazards, SAIF today released "Kitchen Safety Showdown," a video series featuring two chefs squaring off on safety precautions in the kitchen. The video is available in English and Spanish

"We want to raise awareness of little things you can do around the kitchen to make a big difference on safety," said Manning. "While we created these videos with industrial kitchens in mind, many of these tips can be used in your home kitchen, too."

Manning offers these tips for kitchen safety--at home or on the job:

  • Always use the right knife for the task. Sharpen knives regularly and, when you're done, never leave knives soaking in the sink. 
  • Store the heaviest ingredients in the middle shelves of your pantry to avoid bending and reaching. 
  • Use a step stool to get to hard-to-reach items--never use a chair or a box. 
  • Lift heavy items safely--flex knees, keep elbows close to your body, and maintain a natural curve in your back. 
  • Every industrial kitchen needs to have a fire extinguisher that's checked monthly and serviced yearly--consider having one in your home kitchen, too. 

More information can be found at saif.com/kitchensafety.

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. For more than 100 years, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.