Working Safely in Restaurants – Lacerations

Cuts and punctures (most frequently to hands and fingers) are some of the most common injuries reported in restaurants. Puncture and laceration injuries can be caused from handling knives or cutting equipment and broken glassware or plates. These types of injuries can be reduced by implementing some simple strategies.

How Can Laceration Injuries Be Prevented?

  1. Provide knives that are the right size and type for each job
  2. Provide box cutters for opening boxes
  3. Provide proper storage for knives (counter racks,  wall racks or storage blocks)
  4. Provide cut-resistant gloves that cover the wrists,  fit well and have sturdy, tightly-woven seams
  5. Allow workers enough time to work safely

Knife Safety4 Keep knives sharp (dull knives are unsafe)

  1. Keep handles in good repair/tighten or replace loose handles
  2. Never leave knives soaking in water
  3. Place a non-slip pad or damp cloth under cutting boards
  4. Stop cutting and place knife in a flat, safe place if interrupted
  5. Pass a knife to colleagues by laying it on a counter, or pass it with blade pointed down
  6. Never try to catch a falling knife, instead warn others
  7. Carry and store knives in sheaths or protective cases when possible
  8. Keep fingers tucked on the hand that’s holding the food when cutting

Use Appliances Safetly

Proper use of labor-saving devices such as slicers, grinders and mixers require both effective training when a new employee starts a job, and continuous attention to make certain that employees follow all necessary procedures.

The kitchen supervisor should set an example by using proper work methods on a daily basis and encouraging others to do the same.

Instruction and safety manuals should be readily available for all equipment, should someone need further information.

Slicers: “Zero” the blade after each use. When cleaning the blade be sure the power is off and wipe from center hub to edge to prevent slashing injuries from the edge of the blade.

Grinders/Tenderizers: Use push stick to feed grinder. Never place fingers in feed openings. Keep guards in place at all times when operating machinery.

Mixers: Make certain beaters are properly fastened, and bowl elevator is locked in position before starting the unit. Always stop the machine before removing anything from the mixing bowl.

Dishwashers: Load trays properly. Do not overload or force trays into the machine. If tray is stuck in unit, use long pole with hook to pull back to leading end. Wear rubber gloves to
avoid contact with harsh soaps and chemicals.

Warning For Young Workers

Young workers under the age of 18 are prohibited by law from using many of the appliances commonly found in restaurant kitchens. For more information on laws pertaining to young workers employed in restaurants, contact  nearest OSHA office or refer to OSHA’s eTool titled Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants at

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