The kitchen is the heart of any home. It’s where families often gather to talk. It’s where food is prepared and stories are shared and memories made. Yet, it’s also potentially a very dangerous place to be. Sharp utensils like knives, when used improperly, can hurt someone, perhaps even fatally. Knife cuts are some of the most common kitchen injuries. It’s important to know how to avoid the pitfalls of cutting while using the knife. In this article, we will discuss how to use knives safely in the kitchen.
The ER is seldom without a patient who has stuck a knife through their hands as it slips, leaving the patient with knife cuts or deep lacerations to their palms and fingers. Kitchen knife cuts can be very painful, but they can also have long-lasting effects and on the most extreme side of the scale, they can even be fatal. The hand is a complex organ and orthopedic surgeons worry about patients getting injuries to the bones, and fractures. They also worry about injuries to the tendons, which allow us to move our hands and fingers. Knife cuts can also hurt important muscles. They worry about nerve injuries and even blood vessel injuries. Knife cuts can be devastating injuries. Though cuts to the tips of your fingers and edges of your knuckles are not likely to be very serious, knife cuts to your palm or fingers can have devastating effects for your hand movement.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when using a knife is going straight down with it when they are cutting. What you want to do is press the knife against what you are cutting, then instead of slamming the knife down, help it down with your other hand, guiding it in the process. This subtle tweak to your cutting technique helps prevent the most common injury in which people accidentally hack off a chunk of their fingers while aggressively cutting something. Press and help down.
You want to slice away from your hand and keep your fingers away from the blade. The effect of this is pretty obvious: it takes your fingers away from the “kill zone” so you can cut with limited risk.
Never use the palm of your hand as a cutting board. This is fairly obvious but many people underestimate how sharp their knives are and use their palms anyway, figuring they have enough control to stop the downward force of the knife just before it comes into contact with their palm.
You should keep your eyes on your cutting. There are no style points for no-look cutting. Look away and you maximize the risk of your knife going precisely where it will do damage.
You also want to keep away distractions and alcohol. No matter how much you’d like to sip a beer or a glass of wine while watching a ball game and cutting on your beautiful Legacy Countertops, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
Finally, you should always hold your knife firmly so that you retain control over it and it doesn’t slip out of your hands. Keep the tips of your fingers curled when you are holding down something so it can be cut.