B.C. chefs dish out kitchen safety in new video series

A new safety video series shows how to prevent common injuries in the kitchen and features B.C. chefs, who offer safety tips from their own experiences. 

Photo of hands of chef cutting up food

Photo credit: iStock.com/gerenme

Many years ago, I had a job bussing tables. After the lunch rush, a cook asked me to cut some lemons with a great big knife that seemed quite intimidating at the time. In hindsight, I should have asked for some instruction on using it.

I ended up cutting my finger and going to the ER for a couple of stitches. Thankfully it wasn’t worse, and I’m also glad I dodged the owner’s grandma, who tried to literally rub salt in the wound! (Who does that?!)

I remembered that when I watched a new Kitchen Safety video series and heard this great advice from Cindy Hamilton, owner of Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck in Vancouver: “Take a breath, slow down, and think about what you’re doing before you rush into it.”

Cindy is one of the B.C. chefs who share expert advice in the videos. WorkSafeBC shot the videos at White Spot’s Culinary Training Centre in collaboration with go2HR, B.C.’s tourism industry’s human resources association, and other industry experts.

“What we’re trying to do with these videos is to show best practices for the industry,” says Lorne Scarlett, WorkSafeBC’s industry specialist for Tourism and Hospitality.

Real advice from real industry experts

Now WorkSafeBC is sharing the videos with employers, culinary schools, and high schools throughout the province. go2HR and other industry partners are also spreading the word.

Gateway Casinos is one employer using the new kitchen safety videos. They are incorporating them into their worker training at 68 restaurants across Canada. I asked Mark Gilbert, corporate health and safety manager for Gateway’s Western Canada region, what he liked about the videos.

“They’re fantastic – a great learning tool, very detailed – a good base for safety when a new or young employee is coming into the workplace,” Mark says. “You’ve got real people from the industry giving their feedback and that’s what I love about these videos. They’re a big collaborative effort from people actually in the industry.”

More than 85,000 people working in B.C. kitchens

According to WorkSafeBC, we have about 40,000 chefs and cooks and more than 45,000 food counter attendants and kitchen helpers in B.C. They work in all different types of settings – from fast food to fine dining, cafés to summer camps, and more.

Many kitchens are already affected by chronic staff shortages. Injuries affect the bottom line. Says Lorne: “These types of injury prevention resources can become a valuable tool in their employee retention programs. If you’ve got a small staff of only two or three people in the kitchen and you lose one, that’s a big part of your staff.”

The seven videos in the Kitchen Safety series are:

Do you have any stories about your own experiences with kitchen safety? If so, please leave a comment.

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