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Safety & First Aid

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks

Safety & First Aid

Well-maintained and properly sharpened and honed knives may be a delight to use, but can also become very dangerous if handled carelessly. Even the best chefs have accidents from time to time, so be prepared to cope with any mishap. If you take a few simple precautions and learn some basic first aid, you should be able to minimize the impact of any injury.

If you cut your finger or hand, rinse it under cold running water, and dry it thoroughly with a clean paper towel or clean cloth. Apply pressure on the wound to stop the blood from flowing and apply a waterproof bandage or plaster. Hold your hand above your head. If the bleeding does not stop after five minutes of continuous pressure, seek professional help immediately.

Also seek urgent professional help if you see bone, plasma (thin, yellowish liquid) or anything other than clean skin and blood in the wound.

Cuts to the hand between the joints of the thumb and index finger require particular caution because there are larger blood vessels running close to the skin.

If you have recently cut your hand, wear plastic gloves while preparing or cooking food. If this is not practical, trim a finger from the plastic glove, cover the wounded finger with it, and secure. Alternatively, use a proprietary finger cot (tubular bandage).

Always keep a first aid kit on hand in the kitchen: it should include dressings that are suitable for fingers and hands.

Safety tips

Make sure your magnetic rack is powerful enough, and your knives clean, or they can slip off. Stand knife blocks on a nonslippery surface.

Keep knives sharp and honed and always use an appropriate knife for the task. Choose knife handles that you can hold in a safe, tireless grip.

Sprinkle water on a dishcloth or paper towel, and place under the cutting board to stop it from slipping or sliding around when in use.

Cut away from your body and lay knives so they face away from you in the work area.

Never run your finger along a cutting edge—use food, e.g., a tomato, to test its sharpness.

Ensure that the work surface is tidy, to avoid knives being hidden. Never leave them in soapy water in the sink.

Keep children away from knives.

Blade cover

Make a protective cover for any knife that has to be kept loose in a drawer. Fold some thick cardboard to size around the blade and secure with tape.

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