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Knife injuries are on the rise

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 12 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 13 2013 08:48:26 AM CST

Knife injuries are on the rise

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

If you're a serious cook.. you've probably got a few battle scars on your arms and hands.

Emergency room trips for kitchen cuts are on the rise.

Alan Hartley spends so much time in the kitchen that most people call him "Char."

Hartley is the knife safety instructor at Northampton Community College.  He knows how easy it is to end up with a nasty cut.

"One of the most common mistakes is that you think you're pulling the knife toward you and putting your thumb right on the blade," Hartley said. "The idea is to put your thumb next to the blade, next to the cutting surface," he added.

Char also says face the table straight on when cutting.  Many injuries happen with cooks standing at an angle.

 "You don't want to be turned or reaching to cut something," Hartley said.

The most severe cuts happen with serrated knives slicing the edge of your thumb.

 "It bleeds very well.  A lot of blood comes out of there and it takes a great deal of time to heal because you're constantly moving that part of your hand," Hartley said.

And a cutting trick from the pros is to use the claw method, which is curling your finger underneath and putting the side of the knife so you keep everything away so you keep everything away from the sharp part," Hartley said.

Finally, it sounds obvious, but Char says many injuries happen from a slippery floor.

So keep your floors spotless and wear shoes with rubber soles to increase friction.

"Falling in the kitchen is probably the worst place to fall, because everything's either hot or sharp or hard countertops," Hartley said.

It's a few simple tips to stay in the kitchen, and out of the emergency room.