Kitchen Hazards, Causes And Control

Project and Seminar Material for Tourism and Hospitality

Kitchen Hazards, Causes And Control

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Kitchen safety awareness is crucial during food preparation and cooking, as well as during clean-up and daily living; understanding the hazards present in the kitchen can help you avoid accidents or subjecting your family to a bout of food poisoning. Hazard is a situation that could be dangerous, like slipping and falling. Every kitchen has safety hazards. A hazard is any agent that can cause harm or damage to life, health, property or the environment (Sperber, 2001).

Hazards can be dormant or potential, with only a theoretical probability of harm. An event that is caused by interaction with a hazard is called an incident. The likely severity of the undesirable consequences of an incident associated with a hazard, combined with the probability of this occurring, constitute the associated risk. If there is no possibility of a hazard contributing towards an incident, there is no risk.

The highest proportion of reported major injuries to workers in 2009/2010 was caused by slips, trips and falls on level ground. The occupations most affected were kitchen assistants, chefs, and waiting staff. Slipping on a wet surface (grease, oil, food) was responsible for 238 of the major injuries reported. Tripping over an obstruction (furniture, small items, work materials, boxes, and waste) accounted for 78 major injuries.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Appropriate kitchen practice is the conditions and measures necessary to ensure the safety of food from production to consumption. It is a fundamental requirement of any food process that the food produced should be safe for consumption. Good kitchen practice is a basic need but there is a danger that it may be overlooked in the development of effective and efficient processes. Food safety remains a critical issue with outbreaks of foodborne illness resulting in substantial costs to individuals, the food industry and the economy (Kaferstein, Motarjemi, & Bettcher, 1997). Within England and Wales the number of food poisoning notifications rose steadily from approximately 15,000 cases in the early 1980s to a peak of over 60,000 cases in 1996 (Wheeler et al., 1999). Unsafe food has been a human health problem since history was first recorded, and many food safety problems encountered today are not new. Although governments all over the world are doing their best to improve the safety of the food supply, the occurrence of food borne disease remains a significant health issue in both developed and developing countries. Food can become contaminated at any point during slaughtering or harvesting, processing, storage, distribution, transportation and preparation. Proper food preparation can prevent most food borne diseases (Five keys to safer food manual). More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food. (Mead et al., 1985). Recent years have seen a reversal in this trend but food poisoning remains a high priority for the public and government (Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, 2003). Mishandling of food plays a significant role in the occurrence of foodborne illness. Improper food handling may be implicated in 97% of all foodborne illness associated with catering outlets (Howes, McEwen, GriYths, & Harris, 1996). The chances of food contamination and cross contamination become higher especially in the lower socio-economic classes due to unsatisfactory environmental conditions, poor personal hygiene, poor quality and insufficient water supplies, unhygienic preparation storage and feeding of foods. (Khan Hameed, 1997; UNICEF, 2000). Food safety hazards are contaminants that may cause a food product to be unsafe for production. Lack of adequate food hygiene can lead to food borne diseases and death of the consumer. The aim of this study is to examine the types and causes of work-related injury among cooks working in restaurants, catering centres and fast-food centres in Lagos state.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The primary aim of this study is to appropriate kitchen practice necessary to eliminate hazards in the kitchen. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Elucidate the types of hazards in the kitchen.
  2. The causes of hazards among cooks in Lagos state.
  3. Recommend appropriate kitchen practice necessary for hazards reduction.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the types of Hazards in the kitchen?
  2. What are the causes of hazards among cooks in Lagos state?
  3. What are the appropriate kitchen practice necessary for safety?

1.5 Scope of the study

This study is limited to cooks working in restaurants, catering centres and fast-food centers in Lagos state. The findings of this study however is not limited and can be applied to other states or other kitchen scenario.

1.6 Significance of the study

This study sought to create awareness on the different types of hazards faced by cooks during work. It seek to promote safety measures among cooks and in extension the hospitality industry.

Chapter Five

Summary and Conclusion

Food service industry engages skilled cooks for meeting the demands of consumers in different cooking environment. They were found to perform this work for 8 – 12 hours on an average, on daily basis, throughout the year without any break. This study explored the occupational health hazards among cooks in three different commercial food service centers totaling to 90 units in Hyderabad city. The study proved the prevalence of work related health problems of cooks working in these work centres and unsafe condition under which some of the cooks are exposed to work. Many injuries and work-related pains were found to affect body parts seriously due to long standing hours, awkward working posture, repetitive task, lifting heavy containers, exposure to extreme direct heat, cuts and burns, slips and falls, physical stress due to heavy workload. Accidents from exposure to direct heat and electrical shocks were life-threatening. Workplace risk factors and potential long-term impact of occupational injuries on the lives of cooks demonstrate the need for intervention strategies viz., personal protective equipment, space design layout, ergonomically designed tools and products aimed at injury prevention.

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