Even as safety standards shift, personal protection equipment ensures a safe environment for the active chef.
A busy club kitchen can be a dangerous environment without the right training and protective measures. Personal protective equipment—casually known as PPE—is one of the most important elements to have in constant supply. From masks to gloves, these items protect against the spread of germs, cross-contamination of food, as well as burns and cuts.
It’s important to note that PPE requirements in the kitchen may change with the current world health situation—such as a global pandemic. However, PPE will always play a central role in lowering the chances of danger when preparing a meal.
Here are the most commonly required PPE items in a club kitchen:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA updated its suggested list of PPE to include face masks for chefs. While masks do not technically count as personal protective equipment in this case—since it protects others—they do help keep the kitchen safe during a viral outbreak.
There are several types of useful PPE gloves for chefs that protect against the hot water of the sink, the cold of the freezer, or even the cut of a rogue knife. Latex gloves are the most common, especially when performing tasks like taking out the trash or when handling raw meat. These gloves should be switched out as often as a chef would wash their hands.
Non-slip shoes are crucial in a kitchen to protect chefs from the slick floors and quick movement required in the kitchen. Many chefs also prefer shoes with a fortified toe to protect their food against falling items.
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These two PPE items protect against handling hot pots, pans, and utensils, as well as any splashes or spills of hot liquid. Chefs will also commonly wear long-sleeved shirts or white coats for maximum coverage.
In addition to a constant supply of clean PPE, the CDC recommends including adequate signage outlining how to use equipment properly and to avoid unsafe conditions throughout the club kitchen.