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Treating a Cut

Treating a Cut

Cuts are among the most common injuries suffered by professional kitchen staff and sharp knives are often the cause.

As an employer, it is your duty of care to ensure the health and safety of all employees. So, taking measures to prevent an accident, and having someone in charge who knows what to do if one happens, is crucial. Take Stock spoke to Graham Ellis, training delivery manager at St John Ambulance, to find out more.

How should you treat a cut wound?
• Clean the wound by rinsing it under running water or using alcohol-free wipes.
• Pat the wound dry using a gauze swab and cover it with sterile gauze. If you don’t have these, use a clean, non-fluffy cloth, such as a tea towel.
• Raise and support the part of the body that’s injured, above the level of the heart. This along with pressure to the wound will help to stop any bleeding.
• Remove the cloth or gauze covering the wound once the bleeding has stopped and apply a sterile dressing or large plaster.

When should you take them to A&E or to their GP?
If the wound hasn’t healed after a few days, or there is a high risk of infection.
You should advise professional medical help if:
• A wound won’t stop bleeding
• A wound was made by a dirty object puncturing the skin
• A foreign object is embedded in the wound – like grit or a splinter of wood/glass
• You think the wound might be infected

Common causes of cuts
• An opened can – The sharp lid edges are a potential hazard, so use a mechanical can opener instead of trying to handle it.
• Slipping while chopping – Always place a chopping board on a non-slip surface, or place a damp towel under it to prevent it moving.
• Utensil drawer – Store away sharp items, especially knives, towards the back of the drawer preventing someone accidentally grabbing a sharp edge.

Safe use of knives

Accidents involving knives (and cleavers) are common within the catering industry. To ensure that your employees are kept safe from harm so far as is reasonably practicable you must assess the risk of your employees being cut by knives and take reasonable precautions.

How to minimise the risk

• Train employees in the safe use of knives and safe working practices when sharpening them
• Use a knife suitable for the task and for the food you are cutting
• Keep knives sharp
• Cut on a stable surface
• Handle knives carefully when washing up
• Carry a knife with the blade pointing downwards
• Store knives securely after use, eg in a scabbard or container
• Use protective equipment as required. For deboning, it is recommended that a suitable protective glove is worn on the non-knife hand, and a chain mail or similar apron is worn

• Leave knives loose on worktop surfaces where they can be accidentally pushed off
• Try to catch a falling knife
• Use a knife as a can opener
• Carry knives while carrying other objects
• Leave a knife in a sink full of water
• Engage in horseplay with a knife
• Carry a knife in your pocket
Source: hse.gov.uk/catering/knives

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