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Safety in the Kitchen

My worst kitchen accident was an attempt at making popcorn. I left a pan of oil on the stove, and when I returned, the pan was on fire. Using an oven mitt, I slid the lid on the pan, smothering the fire.

My most frequent problem, however, was scorching pans. I seldom make that mistake anymore. Now, I set the timer when I put a pan on the burner so I’m reminded when it’s time to reduce the heat to finish the cooking.


I was lucky to avoid a kitchen fire in the popcorn accident. Those less fortunate sometimes lose their homes.

“Most kitchen fires occur when cooking is left unattended,” said Ted Wieclawek, Fire Marshal of Ontario. “Always stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and look while you cook.”

Wieclawek offers these fire safety tips:

-Stay in the kitchen while you cook, particularly if you are using oil or high temperatures.
-Keep combustible items such as cooking utensils and paper towels a safe distance from your stove. They can easily ignite if they’re too close to a burner.
-Keep a proper fitting lid near the stove when cooking. If a pot catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove.
-Keep a close eye on anyone in your household who is drinking and attempts to cook. The consumption of alcohol is a contributing factor in many residential fires.
-You also need a fire extinguisher that works, which everyone in your household (should) know how to use.

Fire extinguisher
Source: Home Depot 


The stove has been the source of most of my accidents in the kitchen, as it has for many others. Remembering these safety tips will help you prevent mishaps when you’re using your stove:

-Don’t leave pan handles over burners.
-Keep hot dishes out of reach of others to avoid burns.
-Always use oven mitts when handling hot dishes.
-Never wear long, loose sleeves that may catch on fire. The same goes for long hair. Tie it back when cooking.

Cooking on a range

In addition, remember that even though steam is invisible it can cause serious burns.

Food Safety

I’ve only had food poisoning a few times. However, I may have had it more often because it’s difficult to tell whether your aliment is food poisoning or the flu. If food is prepared, cooked, and stored correctly your chances of getting food poisonings are greatly reduced. Consistently following these food safety rules will help prevent food poisoning:
-Wash fresh food with water before cutting or eating it.
-Cut raw meat, fish, and poultry on a separate cutting board from the one used to prepare ready-to-eat vegetables, fruit, or other foods.
-Always check the internal temperatures of raw meat, poultry, and seafood before serving.
-Avoid eating raw eggs or egg products such as cookie dough or cake batter.
-Make sure the temperature of your refrigerator is set to 4° C or 40°F, or lower, and your freezer at -18°C or 0° F, or lower. That way, your food won’t be in the temperature danger zone where bacteria can grow rapidly. Store eggs in the refrigerator for up to three three weeks after you buy them. Try to eat other foods in three days. Use pre-packaged deli meats within four days. Remember the “best-before” dates apply to unopened packages.
-Rinse off the tops of cans before opening them.

If you have any questions about the freshness of food, use this rule: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

For more information, see Health Canada “Safe Food Handling in the Home.”


I’m using disposable gloves more these days to prevent the spread of germs. Follow these tips for good hygiene in your kitchen:
-Always wash your hands before start working in the kitchen. Also, wash your hands regularly as you work.
-Use waterproof dressings to cover any cuts.


Since I know knives are dangerous, I always keep the knife tip down at my side when I’m carrying it. I can’t tell you how many times this has prevented an accident, most recently when my granddaughter came running into the kitchen. Follow this tip and use the ones below to prevent cuts from these useful, but dangerous, kitchen tools.
-Always cut away from the body on a cutting board.
-Be sure to keep your knives sharp, because more pressure is used with a dull knife. This could cause the knife to slip and cause an injury.
-Don’t put a knife in soapy water because others washing dishes could be injured.
-Never try to catch a falling knife.


After I had a ladder accident, in addition to buying a new ladder, I bought a step stool. It’s useful for reaching items in high cupboards. Other tips for preventing falls include:
-Wipe spills up promptly.
-Store heavy items in lower cupboards.

Step ladder
Source: Home Depot

If you’ve had accidents in the kitchen, figure out how you can change your habits so they don’t happen again.
Rita R. Robison is a consumer specialist blogging at EiEi Home.

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