from The New York Times
Avocados may seem harmless, but if you’ve ever peeled and cut one, you know they can be more than a little troublesome. They’re slippery, they’re oddly shaped, and they have that annoying pit in the middle that rarely slips out as easily as you’d like.
These characteristics have earned the avocado a reputation as one of the most dangerous foods to cut. Just recently, the wife of a colleague here at The New York Times was slicing an avocado when she suffered a cut so deep she had to be taken to the emergency room.
Medical professionals and hospitals in the United States don’t track kitchen injuries by ingredient, but anecdotally, doctors say they see a number of avocado-related cooking injuries annually — enough to notice.
As the snow piles up this winter, now is the time to use snowblowers, the quickest way to clear snow from your driveway and sidewalk. However, snowblowers can be dangerous and cause serious accidents. In fact, the most common snowblower injury is amputated fingertips, which results from misusing the machine.
Snowblower accidents typically occur when the snow is heavy and wet or has accumulated about 6 inches or more. Here are important tips to practice snowblower safety this season:
To keep your machine from clogging:
- Work at a brisk pace. The faster the blades and pace, the less likely the snow will stick.
- If heavy, wet snow is anticipated, consider snowblowing several times during the snowfall.
- Some people spray the blades and chute with cooking oil spray. This may help.
Many of us start our holiday preparations by “making a list and checking it twice!” Suddenly, we are overwhelmed by its length. The fact that baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping and travel all come before December 25 can be dismaying. If this describes your current quandary, please continue to read about how you can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
The most commonly reported decorating injuries are lacerations, back strains and falls. Luggage-related injuries increased to approximately 75,500 annually, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) reports that holiday hand injuries are caused by carving a turkey, ham or roast and that tendon and nerve injuries are caused during meal cleanup (contact with a sharp knife or a broken glass).
Here are simple holiday tips for ladder safety, luggage transport and meat carving:
Every year, too many people cut their hand while carving a turkey. These injuries can be serious, sometimes resulting in amputation of the finger. Luckily, they are avoidable. Follow these tips to safely carve a turkey this Thanksgiving:
- Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
- Keep your knife handles and cutting area dry to avoid slips. Good lighting around the cutting area is also important.
- Keep all cutting utensils sharp. Having a sharp knife will avoid the need to use a lot of force when cutting, which can be dangerous. Dull knives are more likely to cause slips and are still sharp enough to cause an injury. If possible, use an electric knife.
- Use kitchen shears to tackle the job of cutting bones.
My children love carving pumpkins at Halloween. I worry about them cutting their fingers. How can we keep everyone’s hands safe?
Take a look at the safety tips published last year by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). The pumpkin carving tools in the kits at your grocery or pharmacy are safer to use than knives. There is a blog article from last year on just this topic!
There are tons of fun decorating ideas that don’t involve young folks using knives. Here are just a few:
- Use push pins or adhesive jewels to script a word such as “EEK!” or “BOO!” or to draw the outline of a ghost or bat.
- Push small picture-hanging nails into the pumpkin and use brightly colored yarn wound around the nails for an abstract pattern.
- After an adult scoops out the pulp and seeds, use a hand drill or spin a screwdriver to punch out the dotted outline of your favorite scary pumpkin face or the outline of a haunted house. A light source inside will shine through the holes and illuminate your scene. A string of Christmas lights can be pushed through the holes for a sparkly effect.
- Coat your pumpkin with chalkboard spray paint. Use a white chalk marker to create a spooky design.
- Use a hairdryer to melt crayons over your pumpkin.
Power saws are extremely powerful tools that can be dangerous to those who use them. While this tool can be useful for cutting different types of materials, it can cause serious hand injuries that may result in the loss of a hand or finger. Exercise power saw safety by following these important tips:
- Never use your hands to clear the scraps from a sawing worktable. Instead, use a push stick.
- Do not wear loose clothing, jewelry or work gloves. They may get caught in the blade.
- Use sharp blades. Dull blades cause binding, stalling and possible kickback.
- Never drink alcohol while using a saw.
- When starting, let the saw reach full speed before cutting, and support the work firmly so it will not shift.
- NEVER look away from your work for any reason.
- Use the correct blade for the application. Set it for the correct depth to minimize the amount of exposed blade.
- Never disable safety guards, and always read instructions first.
- When starting or stopping the saw, make sure the work is not touching the blade.
- Lower a table saw blade below the table top when finished.