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7/2/2013 - How chefs can improve their workplace safety

Chefs may want to focus on safety during National Culinary Arts Month.

July is National Culinary Arts Month, which celebrates executive and professional chefs for all they do in preparing fine cuisine for the masses. Working 12 to 14 hour days - most of them spent on their feet - these cooking experts devote a lot of time and effort to their craft but can frequently find themselves injured if they don't work with their posture in mind.

Occupational health organization WorkSafe provides restaurateurs and their short-order cooks with some advice for how they can make their staff more ergonomically minded.

For example, because they're often standing, chefs need to wear the proper shoes. Ideally, sneakers should have plenty of cushioning and be built to withstand long periods of time spent in a single position.

Additionally, hard floors can be softened, providing relief to the knees and back by using anti-fatigue matting near fryolators, ovens and stoves. These can help reduce stress on the joints substantially.

Though stress-related injuries can be debilitating, cuts and nicks caused by improper use of knives are a problem as well. According to government statistics, one of the most common injuries to the hands results from knife use, particularly when slicing a loaf of bread or bagel. In order to avoid significant workers compensation insurance losses, restaurateurs are urged to provide their workers with the proper knife training, illustrating the way in which they should be held and where hands ought to be placed.

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