I prepare fresh food from scratch almost every day. I go to this effort from a place of love to support my family’s health. I don’t have a lot of fancy equipment, I tend toward manual preparation. Because of this, I look at the safety equipment in my kitchen as really important. Kitchen Safety Equipment helps me pay attention and keep protected during activities that can cause accidents or injury. As my food preparation and cooking deals with more whole foods, my need for a wider variety of safety equipment has increased. My kitchen has the usual stuff, aprons, potholders, oven mitts and trivets to protect my clothes, my hands and my counters. I have added more specialized stuff for kitchen safety as needed.
New Kitchen Safety Tools
I have a background in industrial manufacturing with experience in food manufacturing, which makes me think of kitchen work as sadhana (intentional work with a designed result) as well as a manufacturing process. In industry you provide safety gear to protect workers on a daily basis and to follow the law. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is the government organization that provides exposure standards for instance permissible loudness of noise in the workplace.
Noise above 90 decibels or so requires protection on the job. The intensity of the exposure, the frequency of the sound as well as the duration of exposure are the main components that cause harm. All the details are in the regulations. OSHA also gives specific guidelines on protective gloves for chemical exposure, heat and knife handling. I don’t know that we need a law that protects home cooks, but based on the hours each day I spend in the kitchen, I treat it as a job with exposure concerns.
Let’s apply Kitchen Safety to activities in my kitchen.
I make smoothies nearly every day and use a blender that is very loud. Articles list the noise level of my and other high powered blenders at 80 to 110 decibels. I grind spices regularly with a coffee grinder that is also loud. So I wear ear muffs in the kitchen each morning to protect my hearing while I run the blender. It is easy to buy disposable ear plugs or reusable ear muffs for protection.
Many ear protection products come with a declaration of how much they lower the decibel level. At least then you can understand the level of protection.
I have the standard oven mits to protect my hands from heat. I also have gloves that I use for other kinds of protection. The first is nitrile gloves that I use to keep beet stains and acids from attacking my skin. I use them when I have cuts on my hands to protect them when handling raw meat. The second kind a steel mesh glove provides protection from knife cuts during meat deboneing and processing. Here is a link to show what I am talking about.
A mesh glove makes it very difficult to cut your hand.
Finally I try to remember to prepare food and cook with glasses. I have splashed lemon juice in my eye, bad news. Once is enough. I used safety glasses for years in manufacturing, and it makes sense to protect my eyes in my own kitchen as well.
What extra safety stuff do you bring to your kitchen?