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Foodservice First Aid Supplies and Top 3 Kitchen Mishaps
Top FDA Violations - Restaurants and Fast Food Top FDA Violations - Restaurants and Fast Food

Top 3 Kitchen Mishaps: What Critical First Aid Supplies do You Need?

Written by Cindy Rice, RS, CP-FS, MSPH Eastern Food Safety

Accidents happen all the time in restaurant kitchens and they can be catastrophic for a food establishment, especially a small operation. With good managerial control and training, we can minimize these occurrences, but we also need to be prepared with adequate first aid supplies if the occasion demands.



What first aid supplies does OSHA “require”?

OSHA does not require, endorse, or certify products, rather, OSHA is the enforcer of standards. It upholds the health and safety conditions for all industry types in the U.S. and uses ANSI standards (American National Standards Institute) as guidelines in enforcing its policies for each industry. OSHA categorizes food industry workplaces under the category of “General industry” in its assessments.

To summarize OSHA regulations for General industry (29 CFR 1910.151,) in the absence of medical facilities close to the workplace, adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available, and a person or persons should be adequately trained to render first aid onsite. Therefore, we must select supplies and emergency equipment that are most appropriate for our own foodservice workplace risks, in order to be compliant with 29 CFR 1910. Do you have the first aid supplies you need for these top 3 kitchen accidents?



1. Cuts, lacerations and amputations

Cutting accidents are a common risk in restaurant kitchens, from daily use of knives, choppers, and the many types of equipment that have moving, cutting and slicing motions. Not only are these an injury risk to an employee, cutting accidents also expose people to blood and blood borne pathogens such as HIV (AIDS), Hepatitis B or C. Potential for injuries are especially high for those not properly trained in using knives or other slicing equipment, or cleaning procedures.

Prevention Tips:

  • Store knives in a secure location, and clean properly
  • Use a cutting board always, and cut resistant gloves where needed
  • Food processors, slicers, choppers, grinders, mixers that have moving parts and blades must be guarded because of their hazardous motions
  • When cleaning equipment, follow Lockout-Tagout procedures and wear cut resistant gloves
  • Use protective equipment when handling broken glass incidents
  • Employees should be trained on proper use of knives and cutting equipment
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on use and cleaning

First Aid Supplies:



2. Burns and scalds

Burns are a very common occurrence in foodservice, resulting from contact with hot ovens, grills, open flames, and scalds from steam, grease and other hot liquids.

Prevention Tips:

  • Use clean, dry oven mitts of proper length, that can withstand high temperatures, and in certain situations, ones that are impervious to hot liquids, grease and steam.
  • Avoid using kitchen towels or damp cloths- they may not provide adequate protection when handling hot items. Cloth towels can also scorch, and damp cloths can produce steam and burns
  • Take care in transporting hot liquids
  • Hot oils and grease: avoid contact with water or liquids to prevent splatters

First Aid Supplies:

  • Kits should include burn ointment/gel, gauze bandages, bandaids, tape, disposable gloves, etc.
  • Seek further medical attention when necessary


3. Bodily fluid accidents

Occasionally, someone may be sick with vomit or diarrhea or release other bodily fluids in an area of the restaurant, which can expose people to dangerous pathogens. In most cases, we’re concerned about potential Norovirus transmission, whether from an employee or customer.

In case there is a vomiting or diarrheal accident in the food establishment, proper cleanup is important, and the FDA Food Code mandates that retail food establishments have written procedures in place for Clean-up of Vomit or Diarrhea, which may contain Norovirus. Regularly cleaning methods or sanitizing is not effective in killing Norovirus, which can spread to other areas or become airborne if not handled correctly. Other biohazard accidents carry serious risks and proper clean-up is essential.

Be prepared with proper supplies:

  • Promptly clean, and disinfect affected areas
  • Have a Biohazard Spill Clean-up kit available on premises, that contains PPE, disposable clean-up materials, an EPA registered disinfectant (effective at destroying Norovirus and other pathogens)
  • Store chemicals properly and train staff on chemical use
  • Train staff on using clean-up kit and proper procedures
  • Store the clean-up kit properly in a convenient, accessible location
  • Maintain and follow written procedures for Clean-up of Vomit or Diarrhea, as mandated by FDA

First Aid Supplies:

  • Kits should include burn ointment/gel, gauze bandages, bandaids, tape, disposable gloves, etc.
  • Seek further medical attention when necessary


It’s your responsibility to have adequate first aid supplies available, according to OSHA 29 CFR 1910. Kits should be stocked appropriately for your specific risks, conveniently stored, mounted on the wall, or in an accessible location. Employees should be adequately trained on location of first aid supplies, know who to contact in case of an accident, and persons should be trained on how to render first aid. As always, seek further medical care when necessary.

Be aware that OSHA does not certify or require specific products. Claims that a product meets or surpasses "minimum OSHA requirements" may be a misrepresentation. Evaluate the safety risks of your own kitchen, so that you can select first aid kits and emergency equipment that are most appropriate in your situation. Your Ecolab representative can provide expertise on adequate first aid supplies and biohazard clean-up materials for your needs.

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