As many as 80% of all residential tile-related injuries and deaths occur in commercial kitchens, the New York Times reports.
“This is one of the most dangerous and expensive areas in the nation,” says Katherine Stauffer, an occupational therapist who treats commercial kitchen workers and has written extensively about the dangers of falling on commercial floor tiles.
“We have to do a better job of educating people about what’s happening,” she says.
The Times reports that commercial kitchens can be more dangerous than they look, with the top 10 leading causes of injury and death in a study by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), including broken glass, sharp objects, falling furniture, and burns.
In the commercial kitchen, there’s also the issue of contamination.
Staufer says that the problem of contamination can be especially difficult in areas that aren’t covered by a home’s sprinkler system.
“Commercial kitchens tend to be heavily sprayed, which means that there’s lots of water and a lot of chemicals,” she tells the Times.
“And you can also see some people get into the kitchen through the kitchen door, which can lead to injury or death.
So, if you have a window that’s open, you’re going to get exposed to that air and chemicals and it’s going to spread throughout your kitchen.”
Commercial kitchens tend also to be very crowded, and this can be a source of injury or even death, as can poor ventilation.
“The most common thing that people don’t realize is that commercial kitchen floors can be very dirty,” says Stauffers husband, Scott.
“There’s always some kind of dirty material that is on the floor that needs to be cleaned up.”
The best way to avoid exposure to contamination is to keep kitchen floors free of dust and debris.
“If you’re using commercial flooring, the only things that are going to come into contact with it are water, and if you use a lot more than that, it can get into other people’s areas,” says Scott.
Stieffer says that if you’re cleaning the kitchen, use a vacuum or similar tool, but it’s not necessary to scrub or scrub the floor.
You can just clean the floor in a vacuum, which is usually a safer option.
She recommends that you do a thorough clean, even if you don’t have to.
“It’s important to take your time and make sure that you don-want to get the carpeted floor completely covered, as it’s an easy way to get into some of the stuff that you might not want to get,” says the occupational therapist.
In fact, Staufers husband Scott says he prefers to scrub the kitchen floor rather than clean it because “it just looks like it’s cleaned.”
“I think it looks more like a finished product, but you still need to do it to clean it up,” says his wife.
“So, for example, if I’m scrubbing the kitchen and I get into a little pile of dust, I’ll wipe that down with a rag.
I might have to scrub up the carpet with a damp rag.
It’s kind of messy and you don’ want to mess up the carpets.”
To avoid contamination in commercial kitchen areas, be aware of what materials are on the kitchen floors and to use appropriate gloves.
“You can do the washing and scrub and get the floor clean, but then you’ve got to get your hands on that,” says Dr. Steeffer.
She suggests that if possible, make sure your floor is covered with carpet, or carpeting.
“I’ve actually been to many commercial kitchens and commercial kitchens have carpeted floors,” she notes.
“In commercial kitchens with carpeted areas, the carpet is more of a surface, it’s harder to get in and out.
So if you get into an area where you can’t get in through the door, I would advise washing your hands.”
For more health and safety tips, check out these tips from the Institute of Occupational Safness.