Accidents happen, especially when working with many of the dangerous tools in a commercial kitchen. If you get cut while preparing food, you need to know how to properly care for it. Blood can spread diseases when it gets on food or food utensils.
Below, we’ve answered some common questions food handlers have when dealing with cuts.
1. When should I address a wound?
Immediately! If you get injured, your number one priority should be you. Stop what you are doing and assess the severity of the injury. Alert your manager of the situation. Most often, injuries sustained in a kitchen will be burns or cuts. Although it may seem like a minor injury, taking time immediately to assess the situation can prevent you from further injury.
For detailed instructions on how to properly address an injury, visit our article “7 Steps for Caring for Wounds.”
2. Is bandaging a small cut or putting gloves on sufficient to return to work?
If you have a small cut or an open wound on your hand, simply putting on gloves or putting on a bandage is not enough to protect your customers. Instead, do both. After you bandage the wound, put a glove on top of it. This is called a double barrier, and it will help prevent contamination.
3. Can I still serve the food I was working with?
No! Although it may seem like none of the food you were preparing was contaminated, keeping customers safe should remain a high priority. This means that if there was even a chance the food became contaminated when you got injured, it should be thrown away.
4. What other steps should be taken to ensure food isn’t contaminated?
After you have sustained an injury, clean and sanitize any utensils you were working with to prevent contamination. You should also clean and sanitize any surfaces you were working around, like counters and tables.
Learn more about cleaning and sanitizing in our article “How Sanitizing Protects Your Food Safety.”
5. What should I do if I am severely injured?
In the event of a severe injury, you should stop working and go to the doctor or hospital. Again, your first priority after an injury should be taking care of yourself. Alert your manager and get the care you need. If you have time, make sure your manager knows what food should be properly disposed of to protect your customers. You should also show them what utensils and surfaces need to be cleaned and sanitized.
The bottom line is, accidents happen. Having a plan in place to respond responsibly will protect your customers and help you get the care you need.
For more food safety tips, take our food handlers training course.
— Juli Shelley