Cooking might seem like the most innocuous activity there is, but it’s far from it. There’s no other room in your home where you work with sharp objects, high temperatures, and slippery substances all at once. It’s chock full of safety hazards with which you have to work with every time you decide to make breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is precisely why the kitchen needs to be designed with safety in mind, to minimize the risk of injury. Here are a few things you might want to consider when designing your kitchen.
Outfit the kitchen with adequate lighting
All of the different hazards that are present in the kitchen are pretty difficult to avoid. This is why you need to be focused while you’re cooking, or else a mistake could cause you injury. It’s pretty difficult to give your full attention to cutting vegetables or meat whilst in the dark. Low visibility is one of the main causes of kitchen injuries. When you don’t know where you’re swinging that knife, accidents can easily happen.
The general lighting in your kitchen needs to provide a good view of your kitchen counter or any other work surface. A single chandelier might not cover everything, as shadows can make discerning objects problematic. Use diffuse lighting on your kitchen ceiling and make sure that it’s glare-free. This will prevent all the shiny surfaces from making it even harder to see than in the dark. With proper lighting, you’ll be able to take note of spills of slippery substances and other mishaps in the kitchen and prevent injuries.
Keep electrical equipment away from water sources
Everyone knows that water should be kept away from electricity. Combine the two and you can expert fire and electrical shortage hazards. However, this is easier said than done in kitchen design. While most other rooms can have a comfortable distance between electrical equipment and water, in the kitchen, they’re never too far apart. Still, it’s important that you make sure you minimize the risk of water coming into contact with parts of the electrical grid.
Your home’s switches, plugs, and electrical fixtures should always be grounded and protected with ground-fault circuit interrupters. This is a requirement of building codes, so any newer homes shouldn’t have this issue. If your home is a bit on the older side, you should consult an electrician to help you adopt this change for safety reasons.
While proximity to water sources is the primary issue with some electrical fixtures, it’s also important to note that their height can also be cause for concern. If a switch or plug is located too low, this could prove to be very dangerous in the event of flooding. Make sure they’re at least fifteen inches above the floor. Most experts would recommend keeping them forty-eight inches above ground level, just in case.
Install temperature regulators for the sink
The faucets in your kitchen likely use very hot temperature. After all, it’s hard to clean off tough stains from dishes without hot water. If you use a dishwasher instead of doing this by hand, it’s likely that it’s capable of even higher temperatures. Due to this potential, people will often burn themselves on scalding water when they accidentally turn the faucet on too hot.
While this hot water is essential, you don’t need scalding temperatures in your kitchen sink. Install pressure-balanced valves that will equalize the water temperature in the sink. To prevent temperatures that are a little too high for your tastes, a water regulator might come in handy. You can program the faucet to only provide water up to a certain temperature.
Prevent floor slippage
Some of the most common injuries in kitchen environments are caused by slips. When you’re working with various slippery substances like oils, fats, and water, it’s inevitable that some of them will make their way to the floor. In these scenarios, you’re at risk of slipping and hitting any of the various hard surfaces that are common in kitchens.
Floor finishes can help minimize the risk of slippage. Matte-finished wood and laminate are excellent choices that are easy to maintain and clean from spills. Often, kitchens will be outfitted with anti-slip mats which reduce the impact of spills on the surface.
However, regular non-slip mats don’t provide protection from fatigue and trips. After a long and hard day, spending time cooking in the kitchen will only leave you more tired and less focused. Couple that with standing on an uncomfortable and hard surface, you’re going end up feeling even more exhausted. This is a recipe for accidents. Modern kitchens tend to include a comfortable anti fatigue mat alongside anti-slip surfaces, to make sure that cooking for longer periods of time doesn’t lead to tiredness. It’s a lot easier to prevent slips if you’re well-rested and comfortable on the surface.
Design the floor plan with safety in mind
How you design your kitchen layout plays a big part in how safe the room is. If your stove and oven see a lot of foot traffic, there’s a bigger chance that someone will come into contact with the hot elements and burn themselves. Intuitively, you should be putting the more dangerous elements of the kitchen in one end, where there’s little movement. The fridge and cupboards are relatively safe, so keeping them near the entrance of the kitchen is perfectly fine.
Use common sense to decide where to place appliances. Anything that includes a lot of sharp elements and heating should be placed in easy to reach areas. It’s a lot easier to get burned by microwaved food if you have to reach for it on a certain height. Keep it lower and it’ll remain safer to use.
There are many ways to make the kitchen a much safer environment to work in. Even though kitchens tend to contain a lot of hazardous elements, they’re easy to manage with the help of solid design and some common sense. If you’re aiming to make your kitchen safer, make sure you incorporate some of the above tips.
About The Author: Emma Williams is a young mother of 2, having expertise in writing about various topics of lifestyle, beauty, home improvement and a lot more. She enjoys diving into new aspects of life, learning as much as possible from the business world, marketing and branding. She likes sharing her thoughts and ideas to the world and helping people to get easier access to the secrets of the world.
Photo by Mark McCammon from Pexels
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