Injured while cooking - poll

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If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Have you been hurt cooking? (see full question in post 1)

  • Yes - I have been injured but am not going to change.

    Votes: 20 47.6%
  • No - never

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Yes and I have changed as a result

    Votes: 19 45.2%

  • Total voters

Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
Staff member
Jan 17, 2007
Pacific NW
The other day I was searing some eggplant in a pan and has some water kick up a splatter of olive oil. It hit me just below my eyebrow and a had a small burn there. This is the second time I've been hit by flying fat from a pan in the last few years. I got to wondering how common cooking injuries are.

Should we wear eye protection when cooking? Shoes? Do you ever cook with out a shirt on or gotten your hair caught in a mixer?

Have you ever been injured cooking when some some basic protective gear would have prevented an injury?
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I have been spattered with grease like that before, I have also sliced myself while chopping veggies, grabbed hot pan handles, and grabbed shot baking sheets. So far that's been it *KNOCK-ON-WOOD*

I use a splatter screen now when cooking but that's about it.
Cuts and burns are the bane of any cook's existence.

I cut myself occasionally when I get careless. Seldom really badly but I did once when I lived alone. I'm sure if you could have seen a video of my trying to bandage it while trying to keep it from bleeding would have had you in stitches.

No serious burns but I get them all the time. I've developed routines that keep me from grabbing a pan handle that has been in the oven.
Like most of us who have been cooking for years, I've had my share of injuries too........most aren't too memorable.

I guess the worst one was 30+ years ago and I was nine months pregnant.
I had a huge pot full of cooked pasta and when I poured it into the colander inside the sink, the boiling water sloshed out all over my very pregnant belly. I had blisters all over it. He was born the next day, hard to explain to the hospital staff. :rolleyes:
Then there was the time I sliced off the side of my little finger, complete with fingernail on the Mandolin.

I've been very careful doing those tasks since then.
It seem the only time I cut my fingers is when I am cutting tomatoes or lemons... just to make the whole getting cut thing better.

Usually just trying to go too fast or letting attention slip.
Cuts and burns...none serious enough to head to the ER. I keep bandaids, finger cots, latex gloves, etc handy. And nothing helps a burn like ice ...a dish of ice water asap!

I keep my knives sharp, I wear shoes, and proper clothing, and I never lick a beater still attached to the mixer.

Don't rush, don't worked distracted.
You guys got nothing on me.

In 2005, while doing an all-night smoke of a pork butt, imbibing too much, had guests over earlier, someone left a pack of Marlboro's on my deck table. Hadn't had a cigarette in a long time. Around midnight I lit one up, MAJOR nicotine spinout compounded by the alcohol.

I got up to check the smoker temp, tripped and knocked it over, fell into the coals and could not get up.

3rd degree burns, skin hanging in chards. Surgery for skin grafts.

Now when the smoker is fired up, I approach it with extreme prejudice.

Stupid as it gets.

Been cooking for 30 years, don't remember the last time I cut myself with a knofe.
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Many many cuts and burns, and since i like to document things, i have the pics to prove it. I wont post the gory details, but some of them were kinda ugly, and im still alive to talk about it :)
I had a friend who used to say there are two types of cooks, those who get burned and those who get cut. I must be one of the lucky ones who falls into both categories. The majority of scars on my body are from cooking. My hands have scars both from being cut with knives and being burned by my own stupidity.

For the poll I chose Yes and I have changed as a result, but I could have also picked the yes, but I won't change option as well and both of those answers apply to me depending on the circumstance.
I cut off the tip of my finger once during a demo. Kept chopping while looking up at a customer! :rolleyes: (What was I thinking?)

However, that couldn't have been prevented by wearing any protective gear. Not sure what that would be.

Seems like the poll needs a few more options.
I have two scars on my lower leg and foot from dropping a spatula while cooking caramelizing some sugar. I have another scar on my arm from accidentally touching the hot oven wall. No cuts. So what GB said is true in my case...
Seems like the poll needs a few more options.
How about, "yes, but I'm too dense to learn my lesson"?

I really should wear lab certified coveralls, bouffant cap, steel mesh gloves and goggles to cook, but I look too cute wearing just an apron.

One of my lessons is also the use of splatter guard (and not a lid, which simply collects the steam into water and exasperates the problem you were trying to solve). Oil has popped onto my face, way too close to a major medical disaster.

Another lesson is to remove the lid and toss in garbage before handling an open tin can. I've had as many cuts from it as I have from careless knife work.

Thank you, thank you, for Neosporin and butterfly closure bandages!
Every time im cooking, i always get the " dont hurt yourself" or after my "verbal reactions" the good old " did you hurt yourself again " . So it is expected for me to cause injury everytime i cook.
Too numerous to mention. I don't make the same mistake twice, but I keep comng up with new ways to injure myself in the kitchen. I'm surprised I've lived this long.

The worst injury was when I was about 12 and opened the pressure cooker before it had released all the pressure. I was covered in hot food and dinner was dripping from the ceiling. I got several blisters from that one and still I persevered!
Janet H, like the rest of you, I had my share of food related accidents with no serious consequences, so far.
Yes, we should wear shoes.....
I think you would enjoy this short story from my cookbook:
The Blazing Pig

As a presentto my husband, for his 65th birthday, I offered my services as a chef. He could invite anybody he wanted and I would take care of cooking for the party. He was delighted at the idea and accepted my gift.
I decided that the best option for a party of over 20 people was to use the outdoor oven/grill and that I was going to roast a pig. What happened to John’s party was not going to happen to mine.
The preparations began with ordering the pig. We asked Benjamin to find a pig for us. He came a few days later, saying that he did not have any available, but he got a real good deal with a friend of his. Two for the price of one, and I needed to choose which one I wanted. While he was telling me so, he accompanied me to the back of his truck where two cute little pigs looked up at me.
I did not expect the pigs to be alive and rather than choose one, I was almost tempted to change my mind about the menu, but I closed my eyes and pointed at one. I just wanted them to disappear from my sight. I think if I had to butcher animals, I would become a vegetarian.
The next day Benjamin brought over the freshly butchered headless pig, and he would keep the other one in his farm until we wanted it. I thanked him and offered the pig to him. I would be happy to get some Pozole from his wife. A close friend of Joseph’s, Tom, was coming down from the States for the occasion, so we had an extra person to help with the setting up. The party was to take place in the evening and I had contracted Mariachis to arrive at about 8 o’clock after sunset.
The day of the event, Tom and Joseph helped with the building of the fire. By 2 o’clock, the coals were ready. The two friends put the pig on the spit, secured it with skewers, and positioned it in place. This pig was bigger than I had expected and it was too close to the coals. Tom offered to stand guard over it and turn the spindle occasionally. He thought of taking a little squirt bottle full of water to extinguish the little flames created by the dripping of the fat. When he squirted, the pig caught on fire, and again I heard the familiar scream “Firrrrrrre!” Joseph and I ran from the kitchen and looked at each other. “Not again!” we said almost simultaneously.
John’s little accident was still fresh in our memory.
Immediately, the two men put on gloves and took the rod off the fire. I grabbed a large towel and started beating the pig with it. The fire was quickly extinguished, and the pig was put back again on the spit. At this point Joseph started hopping up and down in what appeared a strange dance, “Are you that happy?” I asked, thinking of the relief of having avoided some serious damage, “No, I am stepping on hot coals!”
Only at that point, did I realize that he had bare feet, and luckily the burns were very superficial and he was not in pain.
The outer skin of the pig was all black, but underneath the meat was juicy and pinkish. Again, it turned out to be excellent.
Everybody at the party asked me how I achieved that nice caramelization. The story of the blazing pig literally lit up the party. When the Mariachi came we danced the night away.


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I have cut myself when using other people's flimsy and/or dull knives , my mother has the worst ,whiltshire staysharp -goes through sideways with great force needed. plus a few scalds ( Open the lid away from you ! ) and spatter burns. Usually from doing one thing and thinking of another, I don't use the guard with the mandolin ,that's fine but shucking oysters ,well I pay attention then. when I was five I got my whole hand into my mom's mixmaster after being warned to keep away. I recall she had to get new beaters , that was bad , I still like raw cookie batter ---Gage
Yes I've been burned so bad I had blisters from wrist to elbow. I had a roast in a cast iron pot tried to turn it over, it cam of the fork and splashed hot lard all over my arm. To stupid to know better I grabbed a towel and robbed. Well you know what that did. Now I make sure to put things in away from me and use a spatula plus a large fork haven't been burned since.
Holiday time one year making my peanut brittle, I have a big thick wooden spoon for candy making, I guess i used it one to many years , as I was scrapping the brittle out of the pan and then spread it on to my marble top the spoon broke and man hand went into the the brittle. stuck my hand into cold water ASAP and then painfully!!!! unsticking the peanuts from my hand -ripping skin as i did it. Not happy people that year no brittle but relieve that next year I would be making it again. Came out no major scars but a very sore hand for a couple of week. got 3 new spoons for xmas tho that year. and learn not to rest the spoon on the pot creating a week point from the heat.
Splattering bacon grease while it's frying is about the extent of any kitchen injuries I've ever had. Why? Besides being blessed, I don't hurry. I'd rather have it come out right than loose a finger while trying to impress someone with mythological culinary skills. There's no one I know who needs to be impressed anyway.

Yes, I've dropped things and burnt my fair share of dishes, but all while staying out of harm's way.

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