Cuts and burns

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by sladflob, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. sladflob

    sladflob

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    I've had a bad run lately - seems like whenever I venture into the kitchen I either cut or burn myself! This led me to wonder how frequently this happens to the professionals and how severe their injuries usually are. What's the worst that you've had? Has it gotten better or worse as you've gained experience? For myself, I find if I get blase or over-confident then that's when accidents happen. A cook I knew told me that he always cut himself more with blunt knives because he didn't afford them the respect (and caution) he gave to sharp knives. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

    james
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Blunt knives are more dangerous. They skid and slip instead of cutting leading to more cuts on fingers and hands. Blunt cuts also heal slower as they actually do more damage when they cut.

    FWIW, the first requirement for the Boy Scout Cooking Merit Badge is to know first aid for the possible injuries during cooking.

    Phil
     
  3. headless chicken

    headless chicken

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    Granted it was in class but over the course of my 8 month program, I've really only cut myself like 2x and burned once (really hot liquid sugar spilled over the edge of a tray over my hand). My most serious injury was when I nearly cut off the tip of my index finger when I was slicing up onions, and like you, I got cocky and quickened my pace. I try not to rush myself too much, doing so usually leads to accidents like this. As for it its getting worse or better, neither yet.
     
  4. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Phil is right: blunt knives are far more dangerous than sharp.

    And blunt wits are also more dangerous than sharp. By that I mean: one has to keep focussed and pay attention. Sure, we've all seen our bosses zip through an onion seemingly without looking. But they are feeling what they're doing, and are aware of what's happening.

    Along the same lines, don't ever believe it when someone brags that s/he can come into work hungover/drunk/stoned and do as good a job -- or better -- than with a clear head. If that's true, I certainly wouldn't want that person working for me!

    In 6 or so years in professional kitchens, I only had 2 injuries that I would consider serious, that is, for which I really had to go to the ER. Both happened because I thought I knew better than my equipment. As your colleague pointed out, you have to respect the power of your equipment.
     
  5. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Kitchen burns can be an occupational hazard.Im sure we have all earned our stripes(thats the strait burn you get by encountering a pan or the oven,similar to branding an animal but not so intense I hope) or been popped by the fryer while adding a to moist product.Also grabbing a hot pan handle can kinda wake you up also.
    Some of the worst cuts I have seen have actualy come from our plastic wrap and aluminum foil cutters.These can be very jagged cuts.
    I use an antibiotic cream like neo sporin after washing and drying the affected area as infection is the biggest thing you wish to prevent.Keep it dry and aired out when possible and cover while working with food (this is where gloves and a band aide come in handy.Also I agre that dull knives are a bain in the kitchen and are an accident waiting to happen.
    Most important remember when you are working the ovens or doing knife prep or even covering something with a piece of plastic wrap to pay attention.Even then well,we are all human.........Doug...........
     
  6. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    That *&[email protected]%*& hot pan handle will get you everytime!

    The worst I've ever got myself was with and oyster knife. It was stupid, I think I posted about it somewhere else on cheftalk.

    The worst I've ever seen was when this guy turned on the tandoor oven while the chef's face was over the hole.

    Wait, no I think was when this guy got third degree burns changing the fryer oil.

    I've heard stories. How about this guy who cut off the tip of his thumb with the slicer and then the chef just grabbed his wrist and cauterized the tip on the hot oven. Eeew!

    Kitchens are dangerous man.
     
  7. chefalexander

    chefalexander

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    Here's my dull knive story...It was about 12 years ago now, when while dicing meat for an omelte, I was a victum of a dull knife (and my own inattention, of course). The knife slipped and took 1/2 inch off the tip of my left middle finger durning the middle of lunch service. :eek: We saved the piece, and had it reattached at the ER. ONLY missed 6 weeks of work while healing. I think we all would agree, only use sharp knives. Or if we know it is dull, PAY ATTENION. Some time later, a commis broke the tip off that same knife when opening a jar with it. I insisted we save it, and now it hangs on the wall as a reminder of what can happen. In the burn category, my worst was when scraping down the flat grill, a 'wave' of bacon grease splashed over the back of my hand--I think bacon grease IS the worst!! Fortunatly, didn't miss any time, but it was wrapped and gloved for quite a while.

    Haste makes waste, and leads to injury--lets all be careful out there! :chef:
     
  8. chefjason

    chefjason

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    The worst burn I got was one when one of the breakfast cooks was mopping infront of the flat-top grill (before I was smart enough to buy slip proof shoes) I slipped and my first reaction was to catch my self. I put my hand down on thw 375 degree flat-top. Immediately I cooled it under cold water and finished my shift having to stop to cool my hand to ease the pain. On my way home the pain got so intense that I was yelling every cuss word I could think of. When I got home my wife forced me to go to the emergency room. After I sat there for seven hours finally a doctor came to look at it. All they did was put anti-botic cream and a bandage on it. I already did that. The gave me a pain reliever and a perscription. The pain was gone in about 45 min. and the next day I had no pain, so I didn't need the perscription. 7 hrs and a bunch of the companies money well waisted.

    Cuts and burns are just part of the territory. Even the most experienced chef's get them. 99.9% are minor and with first aid training you will figure out the best way for you to heal quickly.

    The worst week I had for accidents I had was the week I went from being an hourly employee to an overworked salaried manager. First was Mother's day (busiest day of the year) 5 min after punching in I had to dice some peppers on the fly and the knife was dull. There goes the tip of my finger. Taped it up and got back to work. The rest of the week went downhill from there.Three burns (one on my forehead don't ask) a couple minor cuts and a bruised chest from clipping the corner of the wall while carrying a sheet pan at chest level. I just needed a little time for my body to adjust from basically doubling the amount of hours I worked a week. And since then all injuries have been very minor.
     
  9. mikeb

    mikeb

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    In just over a year of cooking for a living, I've cut myself maybe twice (minor cuts), but I have plenty of minor burns from hot oil. Nothing major. I typically am quite cautious in the kitchen, I use a dry towel for grabbing hot items, tilt the pan away when dealing with hot oil, never look directly into the oven, etc... My chef on the other hand, she burns/cuts herself regularly, as do many of my co-workers... I've had quite a few close calls using dull knives though, so now I bring my own knives to work.
     
  10. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I burned my hand a few years back and cooked with my hand in a container of ice water, changed often.....when I had to deliver food, I wrapped a bag of frozen peas and a large rubberband around my hand.....seems like I had to stop on the way home and buy some colder peas to subside the throbbing pain.

    umpteen years ago I was cooking at a French restaurant in shorts, bent over and burned my butt on the cranked up oven, it was REALLY Painful.....
    same restaurant I was trying to lift a monstrous pot of hot scratch french onion soup on to the stove and pourred it right down the front of me.....that too was no fun. I got plenty of grief from the guy that made it too.

    There are some great bandages for burns now.....gel packed, silvadine is also a great burn cream, I think it's over the counter now.