October marks that bitter-sweet time of year when Australian sports fans hang up their footy jerseys for another season and wait expectantly for the tennis and cricket to roll in. Fans of the wildly popular television show, MasterChef, were less patient, so – in order to placate its insatiable audience – Channel 10 has plugged the gap by fast-tracking its Junior MasterChef show to our screens.

Risks in the Kitchen

With the exception of fire, risk mitigation of injuries in the kitchen can easily be overlooked because the injuries are typically minor. But with children as the little stars of the show, the Junior MasterChef producers have given the issue significant consideration and implemented controls to mitigate the risks. These controls include:

  • Using induction stoves which are cold to the touch, and only heat when in contact with pots or pans
  • Using smaller-than-normal knives, with professionals called in when tougher items – such as pumpkins – need to be cut
  • Deep-frying and caramelising has been banned
  • Safety officers, a nurse, medic, carer and psychologist are all on set during the show’s filming

Venue Kitchen Safety

Most people who cook will know first-hand about the risks of cuts and burns in the kitchen. In the events industry, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that the risk is significant enough to warrant attention:

  • A study into operational injuries recorded during the Sydney Olympic Games reported that 11% of all non-sport related injuries occurred in kitchens. Considering the large volume of spectators relative to those working in kitchens, this figure is disproportionately high.

Any venue that operates catering in-house should consider kitchen safety as part of its venue risk management program.

If catering is being contracted out, take a detailed look at the contractor’s safety plans and ensure all practicable measures have been put in place to minimise the risk of injury from cuts, burns and slips.

WorkCover NSW has a copy of its “Health and Safety at work: Kitchen” publication available online. It contains a list of controls for those working in a kitchen environment. It can be found at:

http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/health_and_safety_at_work_kitchen_0127.pdf