Safety in the Use of Kitchen Equipment
Having kitchen facilities in an office setting can be a convenience or a hazard. Even if the facility is simply a staff break room with refrigerator, microwave oven, sink and dishwasher, it is important to ensure that equipment is appropriate for the setting, and is installed and maintained properly.
Nature of the Hazard
Here are some examples of the hazards associated with kitchen or break room facilities:
- The wiring for refrigerators, microwaves, etc. matches the capacity (220 volts, three-pronged grounded outlet).
- Ventilation is appropriate for the room size and equipment needs.
- Equipment operation and maintenance is done in accordance with manufacturer’s directions.
- The refrigerator/freezer temperatures are maintained at 41° F. or less/0° F or less.
- Surfaces that touch food are cleaned with bleach or commercial kitchen-cleaning agent diluted according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Flooring needs to be kept in repair: Replace broken, chipped or missing tiles, and adhere any linoleum that comes unglued.
- All servers must wash their hands before handling food.
- All servers must wash their hands after using the rest room.
- Food must be maintained at a proper temperature; hot foods kept at 140° F. or warmer and cold food at 40° F. or colder. This can be done in insulated packs to keep food hot (read instructions) or in ice chests with ice or frozen gel packs for up to 4 hours. Or choose foods that don’t require they be maintained at a certain temperature to remain safe for consumption, such as juice boxes and dry snacks.
- Food should be protected from flies and insects by covering it with a lid, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Food prepared with mayonnaise should be refrigerated until just before eating.
Oliver, Barbara B., Managing Facility Risks — 10 Steps to Safety, Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Washington, DC, 2004
Kitchen Equipment Checklist