I’ve never seriously cut myself in the kitchen, but I almost chopped my big toe off with an axe. I should have been wearing hard toe boots.
My daughter-in-law loved the ultimate utility sandwich knife I bought her–until she cut herself so badly she needed to go to the hospital.
To avoid that risk, some only work with dull knives.
With a little planning and organization, IMO, the opposite can be true.
It’s a series of “little things” to reduce risk–until there’s almost no risk at all.
The first little thing to consider is the tasks you want to accomplish–and most of them can be classified as prep work. Further, the prep work can be subdivided into vegetables and meat.
One safety practice is to have two cutting boards–one for the vegetables, the other for the meat–and be sure that the one for meat is super sanitized.
Then, identify the knife or knives to be used for these two kinds of prep. It’s probably better to do the vegetables first. For me, personally, I often do my vegetable prep a day in advance–so I can take my time (another important safety factor).
I’ve always used different knives for vegetable prep. For a long time, it was only a nakiri, but now I have a santoku, several cleavers, and an Asian utility knife to consider–and enjoy.
If one is doing all prep work just before cooking, and wants to use the same Chef knife for everything, doing the vegetables first is clearly the way to go.
Another not so little thing is to really get to know your knives. With different hand sizes and shapes–and handedness–each of us will feel our way a little differently–and hopefully have chosen the best fit. Now, we need to see how well it can do our prep tasks when we do it our way.
That will take some practice and experimentation.
Then there is the issue of matching the knives we choose to the strokes we make as we carry out our preps.
For Western rock chopping, it’s a knife with a belly, like my Wusthof Classic Ikon
For Asian push cutting, It’s my Miyabi birchwood, and my Shun Kaji santoku
For vertical chopping, it’s my Chinese vegetable cleavers
An important factor that improves decision making is the immediate availability of the clean, sharp, knife.
I call it grabbability–and I make real efforts to make my knives grabbable near the cutting board:
What do you do to promote knife safety in your kitchen?