Poka Yoke in the Kitchen

We have looked at common poka yoke examples in daily life. But I thought it would be a nice thing to zero down on other poka yoke examples in specific areas.

These new series of posts will start with poka yoke examples in the kitchen. From the basic equipment to cooking methods, you will find that the kitchen is full of examples of mistake-proofing.

The kitchen can be a dangerous place. Whether it is an small home kitchen or an industrial size one, potential risks are everywhere. If you take a cursory look at the reports to OSHA, you will find that the kitchen is a landmine of accidents waiting to happen.

For example, most of the common reports to OSHA include burns and serious knife cuts.

These and other potential dangers can be reduced by using the Poka Yoke mistake-proofing method used in lean manufacturing. This tool helps in ensuring safety as well as quality within processes.

Over the years, the food industry has come up with ingenious solutions that prevent accidents and quality errors in the kitchen. Below is list of Poka Yoke examples in the kitchen.

Examples of Poka Yoke in the Kitchen

  1. Fridge guard prevents electricity surges from damaging the equipment. This device will switch the power off every time there are fluctuations and restart when the power normalizes.
  2. Dough mixers have a a lock-out system with guards to prevent operator’s hands coming into contact with moving parts. The machine cannot be used when the guards are open ( when cleaning or filling up).
  3. Heavy bottomed pots and pans with non-slip features give them stability thereby preventing a fall.
  4. Magnetic knife holders. These prevent sharp knives from accidentally falling off and injuring someone.
  5. Pressure relief valves that prevent explosion of boilers and cookers.
  6. Color coding for equipment to be used on different categories of food. Also, having color codes for different days of the week to indicate production dates. This gives an immediate visual cue that helps in proper inventory management.
  7. Use of standard containers for food. This helps in managing stock levels the without need for physical counting and weighing. Non-standard containers are also highly visible and will immediately alert you of an abnormality.
  8. Holes on work tables to directly collect off-cuts and other waste during food production. This Poka Yoke solution negates the need for constant cleaning of the table hence increasing productivity because there is no stopping to remove build-up of waste.
  9. Ingredient boards that have cut out shapes of bowls of condiments for every menu. You can easily see when an ingredient is missing before going ahead with food production.
  10. Using personal protective equipment such as gloves that have a high visibility so that they can be noticed when they fall into food.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I will update it as I come across more examples of Poka Yoke in the kitchen. 

Other Poka-Yoke posts: