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New safety videos highlight risks of working in kitchens

Four B.C. chefs serve up tips on staying safe

Published on: September 14, 2018

Richmond, B.C. — More than 60 per cent of injury claims in the food-service industry involve kitchen workers, who routinely work with tools and equipment that, used improperly, can cause serious injury. In the B.C. restaurant industry alone, there were 269 serious injuries in restaurants in 2017 and 47 per cent of those happened to kitchen workers.

New safety videos highlight risks of working in kitchens

Around 97,000 people in B.C. work in kitchens, as chefs, cooks, food-counter attendants and helpers. They can be found in workplaces spanning many industries — from restaurants and pubs to institutional kitchens, from remote work camps to mobile catering.

That’s why WorkSafeBC partnered with go2HR and well-known local chefs to produce a video series for employers and workers about the safe use of knives, meat slicers and deep fryers, and how to prevent burns, scalds, slips, trips, falls and lifting injuries.

“Commercial kitchens have the potential to be a recipe for risk,” says Lisa Houle, Manager, Industry and Labour Services, at WorkSafeBC. “They contain lots of sharp, heavy, hot objects; the pace of work is demanding; and they have high employee turnover, so there’s a constant need for training. These videos provide tips from experienced industry professionals that even the home cook will find useful.”

Isabel Chung, executive chef at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, is featured in the series, along with Dennis Green (executive chef, go2HR), Cindy Hamilton (owner, Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck), and Jeff Szombaty (executive chef, Hyatt Regency; formerly Vancouver, currently Waikiki, Hawaii). “Safety’s always been a consideration in the kitchen,” Chung says. “From a young employee’s point of view, if your employer won’t listen to you, they’re not worth working for.”

Employers are responsible under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to ensure workers are trained and know how to carry out all aspects of their job safely. These videos are a free educational resource that will be made available in several languages.

The videos, along with the resources listed below, will help provide important training for kitchen workers, regardless of the size of operation or industry.

Additional resources

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the provincial government. The organization serves approximately 2.4 million workers and 238,000 employers throughout British Columbia. In administering the Workers Compensation Act, the organization is accountable to the public through the provincial government.

For media inquiries:

Gillian Burnett
Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Cell: 778.870.3848

Trish Knight Chernecki
Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Cell: 778.871.5841