Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used in a range of different industries in order to keep both employees and the public safe.
Whether it is safety boots or lab coats, protective equipment is specially designed to protect the wearer from injuries in a specific work environment. For example, lab coats and goggles protect the wearer from hazardous chemicals that may be found in a laboratory just as cut resistant gloves protect the wearer from knifes and other sharp objects in a kitchen.
As of 2002, regulations state that all employers must provide protective clothing and equipment to employees should they be at risk. Types of PPE typically include items such as ear muffs, gloves, helmets, high visibility clothing, safety footwear, and harnesses.
Why is PPE needed in the kitchen?
The busy and hectic environment alongside the actual hazards presented in a kitchen make it a very dangerous place to work. Protective equipment is therefore used in order to minimise the chance of injuries or to minimise the fatality of any injuries that do occur. When working in a kitchen, employees are at risk of burning themselves on hot ovens, cutting themselves with sharp knives, scalding themselves with boiling water and more – this is why it is of the upmost importance that you, as an employer, provide equipment that will minimise these risks and keep your employees safe.
Protective equipment isn’t just about protecting employees; it is about also protecting your customers. Ensuring that those working in the kitchen prepare food with gloves and hair nets on will minimise the risk of serving any unhygienic food. Regularly providing clean aprons, towels and gloves to your kitchen staff will not only protect your customers from food poisoning but it will also protect your employees, guaranteeing that they are carrying out their tasks to the best possible standard.
What types of PPE should you use in the kitchen?
There are many varieties of protective equipment that can be used in the kitchen and some are even specially designed to help carry out certain tasks. Below are a list of personal protective equipments that should be used in the kitchen when preparing food, cooking or cleaning and the purpose of each.
- Apron; an extra layer that protects you from spillages of hot liquids or foods whilst also acting as a part of your uniform to ensure that you look smart and professional at all times.
- Oven gloves; protect your hands when handling hot cookware such as baking trays or pans that have been in direct heat with an oven or stove.
- Cut resistant gloves; protect your hands with safety gloves when you are using sharp objects in the kitchen such as knives, scissors or peelers.
- Disposable vinyl gloves; protect your hands from hot foods such as chillies that can irritate the skin.
- Footwear; minimises the risk of falling over if the floors are slippery due to their non-slip construction.
- Safety goggles; protect eyes from coming into contact with cleaning fluids.
- Rubber gloves; to protect the skin from chemicals found in cleaning products that could potentially irritate the skin.
It is important that as an employer, you provide sufficient protective equipment to all members of staff who are at risk of any injury in the workplace. The equipment you provide must be well-fitting, comfortable and clean and you must also provide storage facilities for such equipment. Identifying the risks in a kitchen and minimising these by providing the correct protective equipment ensures that all employees are safe and therefore allows them to carry out their duties without any interference.