Galley safety – rice cooker smouldering

What happened?

A rice cooker not being used was either left on or accidentally turned on by someone walking past and activating the controls.  No rice or liquid was in the tray, which caused excessive heat to build up and the rubber pan seal to smoulder.

No injury or major outcome resulted.

What was the cause?

An investigation found that it is likely the rice cooker was unintentionally turned on when someone walked past and activated the controls.  The rice cooker controls were exposed to pedestrian traffic and able to be unintentionally operated.

What actions were taken?  What lessons were learned?

  • Procedures were reinforced to ensure galley crew isolate or unplug equipment when not in use for long periods;
  • Protect galley equipment from being unintentionally operated by way of a physical barrier – a physical barrier was installed on all rice cookers to prevent unintentional operation;
  • Area inspections should include a check of equipment in use or out of use and a check that physical barriers are in place to prevent unwanted operation of equipment.