Stand by your pan

Stand by your pan and never leave cooking unattended. 

The University of East London wishes to highlight the importance of health and safety when cooking in the Halls of Residence.

The key safety messages are:

  • Stand by your pan – take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen while cooking
  • Keep your cooker and grill pan clean – burnt food and fat causes fires
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life
  • Don’t drink and fry – order a takeaway or eat cold food if drinking alcohol
  • Maintain electrical kitchen appliances and keep away from water

14 tips on how to cook safe

Wear shoes and safe clothing

Wearing shoes, good sturdy shoes, is essential to kitchen safety. Make sure you are wearing safe clothes too. Sleeves should not be long and flowy. Do not wear loose clothing or anything flammable, and avoid synthetic clothing, which can melt onto your skin if it catches on fire.

Don't rush

Rushing around the kitchen will almost guarantee accidents. Unless you're a pro, cut food slowly, do not run from station to station, and take your time when moving hot pots and pans. Saving a few minutes here and there will be negated if you need to make a trip to the doctor's office.

Also never try to bake or cook if you are under the influence of alcohol or medications, or are very sleepy.

Always use hot pads

Keep a good selection of hot pads and oven mitts on hand. Always use them for any bowl, pot, or pan that has been in an appliance. It's especially important to use these items on bowls you are pulling out of the microwave oven. Even microwave-safe bowls can get quite hot, and it's easy to burn yourself. And if a hot pad or oven mitt gets wet, don't use it until it dries. A wet pad or cloth will easily transmit heat.

Stir away from your body

Use a slotted spoon, and position the spoon so the bowl is facing away from you. This way, if your hand slips you won't scoop boiling water towards yourself.

Learn how to use knives

Learn how to use a knife and treat them with respect. Knives should always be sharp. A dull knife can slip and cut. Learn how to chop and slice as chefs do, holding the food with your non-dominant hand, fingers curled under. Go slow until you are confident, and always pay attention.

Know your equipment and handle it properly

Read instructions that come with appliances and understand how to use them. Never use an appliance that has a frayed cord, and keep small appliances dry and away from water. And never use your fingers to release something caught in food processor blades or mixers. Be careful with the blades on food processors and blenders; they can be very sharp and can cut you if you just brush against them. Let appliances cool down before cleaning them. And don't use an appliance for a purpose for which it...MORE wasn't created.

Clean up spills promptly

Cleaning up spills as you go not only helps save time when cleaning the kitchen, but will help prevent accidents. Water, food, and grease on the floor will almost guarantee a fall.

Watch out for cooking sprays too. If they are sprayed on the floor, the surface will become very slippery. Always hold the pan you’re spraying over the sink so any over spray will not land on the floor.

Know your limits when lifting

Lifting a hot pot of boiling pasta is one of the most dangerous of kitchen techniques. Lift using your knees and back, and know your limits. Ask for help if you need to move or transfer something heavy.

Watch out for steam

Steam can burn just as easily as boiling liquid or a hot burner. Be especially careful around covered microwaved foods, and foods that have been cooked in packets. Open these packages away from your face, and remember to use hot pads. And when you lift a cover off a boiling pot, pull the cover toward you so you don't burn your hand with steam.

Learn how to extinguish fires

Always have a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen, and be sure that you know how to use it before you need it.

Know a little bit about different fires. Never try to extinguish grease and electric fires with water; baking soda or a pan cover work best. Smothering a fire by removing air is the best way to put most out. Use a pot cover, baking soda, or salt, not water.

A fire in the microwave can be put out just by turning the appliance off and keeping the door closed. A fire in the oven should...MORE be extinguished with baking soda or a fire extinguisher. If you can't douse the fire in a few seconds, call the fire department and set off the fire alarm to notify your flat mates and other residences. Fires can spread so quickly and can get out of control in minutes.

Be careful around stove burners

Always keep pot handles turned away from the front of the stove; it's too easy to accidentally brush against them and spill hot food on yourself. Never reach over a hot burner to another pan. Push back your sleeves when cooking food on the stove top. And keep pot covers handy to smother flames.

Don't leave food unattended

Never leave the house when food is cooking or baking. Food can quickly go from browning to burning to bursting into flame.

Stop, drop and roll

Learn personal safety and fire safety. Teach yourself the 'stop, drop, and roll' technique. This can be used if your clothing catches on fire. Search this technique online to familiarise yourself.

Keep a first aid kit in the kitchen

Most people keep a first aid kit in the bathroom. One belongs in the kitchen as well. Make sure it's stocked with up-to-date equipment, including gauze, burn salve, scissors, and if needed, emergency contact numbers you might not remember.

If there is anything in this post that you feel unsure of or you wish to find out more information then please contact the Residential Life Office. Contact details below

Residential Life Team

Docklands Campus
Residential Services, Longbridge House, Ground floor office
University of East London
4 - 6 University Way
London
E16 2RD

Tel: 020 8223 5409
Fax: 020 8223 7605
Email: dlres@uel.ac.uk

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