Written by attorney Judy Jin Kim

Kitchen Accidents & Safety Guidelines

In 2002, a NFL Jaguar and his wife were burned severely when a fondue pot overturned in their home. His wife’s burns were so bad she needed skin grafts. While this story may sound ridiculous and embarrassing, the truth is several Americans are injured in the comfort of their own homes on a daily basis. The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places. There are simply too many accidents that could happen and hurt your health.

From stoves left on, to defective appliances, to slippery floors, to sharp knives and the risk of a kitchen fire breaking out, ways you can injure yourself in the kitchen truly seem endless. While sometimes accidents are directly the fault of the injured victim- they were careless or not paying attention- at other times third parties can be guilty and should be held responsible.

If you experienced an electrical shock, were exposed to toxic fumes or chemicals, were exposed to fire danger or smoke inhalation, or were cut or injured in the kitchen- whether you are a wife and mom, chef or waiter, you could be eligible to collect damages.

Burn injuries can easily occur due to grills, fryers, ovens and hobs. A person can suffer severe lacerations from an industrial slicer, grater, cleaver or from various knives. In recent news:

  • A waitress was awarded damages after breaking her pelvis when she fell on a slippery, wet floor
  • A chef who worked with pizza ovens received compensation after being diagnosed with asbestos cancer
  • A kitchen assistant was awarded on-going damages after slicing his wrist
  • A hotel waiter was awarded damages after slipping on a greasy floor and sustaining soft tissue damage to his foot

According to statistics, every year, over 100,000 people are injured in a kitchen related accident. While burns rank highest in kitchen-related injuries, knives, electrical appliances and lack of sanitation also lead to countless injuries and occupational illnesses. Children are all too often the victims of kitchen-related accidents in the home. In order change this, experts suggest you store your knives in a safe area, keep sharp and breakable items out of the reach of children, close all cabinets and drawers, install child locks, keep your children out of the kitchen when the stove or oven is in use and keep all plastic bags out of a child’s reach.

It is also recommended that you keep a First Aid kit in the kitchen, don’t rush while cooking, keep the handles of pots and pans tucked in, and monitor oil closely when you are cooking with it. Chefs advise that you, “…don’t go off and make a phone call or change the baby while the oil is heating in the skillet."

To prevent food poisoning, residents should wash utensils and containers, don’t keep leftovers for too long and read the labels. Chefs stress that you should especially be careful with raw chicken and remember that “stuff in the freezer doesn’t last forever." Also, make sure you clean up spills immediately, keep a fire extinguisher close by and beware of loose fitting clothing and long hair, as these can pose a greater chance of catching on fire. If you were a restaurant employee who was injured because of your boss’ negligence or if you are just an “Average Joe" who was injured by a defective product or kitchen feature, you should contact a personal injury attorney today to see if you could be eligible to collect damages.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Law Office of Judy Kim is based in San Diego, California and handles cases such as catastrophic injuries, premises liability, product liability, slip & fall, workers’ compensation, wrongful death- and cases involving negligence in general. The firm works on a contingency fee, which means that if you don’t collect compensation- neither does Attorney Kim!

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