Alex Lopez on October 16, 2014
Guide for Preventing Accidents in the Restaurant Industry
The restaurant industry makes up a big part of the U.S. economy and employs 13.5 million people for 10 percent of the overall workforce. Although restaurants aren’t always thought of as workplaces in the traditional sense, they are legitimate worksites with a plethora of dangers that employees and in some cases patrons face.
According to Restaurant Central, these facilities account for about 6.3 percent of all time-loss claims. Without an understanding of safety threats and prevention techniques, you could find yourself with serious injuries and hefty financial losses. Here are some tips for preventing accidents and make your restaurant safer.
Most Common Accidents
While there are numerous accidents that can occur at any given time, here are three that happen frequently and require effort to be avoided.
- Slips and Falls – Whether it’s from grease on the floor, tripping over an object or slipping on a wet surface after mopping, it’s all too easy for employees and patrons to suffer from these types of injuries. Accordingly, slips and falls account for 18 percent of all-time loss claims.
- Cuts and Lacerations – Almost any kitchen contains sharp objects like knives, slicers, glass and other dangers that can lead to cuts and lacerations. Injuries can range in severity, but serious ones can easily result in a claim. In some cases, this can also put valued employees out of commission for an extended period of time in.
- Burns – Because of stovetops, ovens, fryers and hot water, one wrong move can lead to burns. QSR Magazine states that “as many as one-third of occupational burns occur in restaurants, totaling about 12,000 reported cases per year.”
To reduce the number of injuries, it’s important to have a proactive mentality and take action to prevent them from ever occurring in the first place. Doing so can save employees and patrons from a lot of anguish, prevent compensation claims and increase productivity. This usually starts with training your employees on the correct safety techniques to keep them out of harm’s way.
Providing employees with educational materials is an effective way to train them to identify hazards and highlight ways to perform their jobs without getting injured. Stay Safe in the Restaurant is an excellent training resource from OSHA that’s completely free that you can find here.
You may want to create a checklist for your workplace that employees need to check off during or after each shift to keep your restaurant safe. This might include placing caution signs around wet floors, placing cutlery back in its correct place after use, etc. It’s also important to have necessary emergency supplies on hand so injuries can be treated immediately. For example, you should have a sufficient first aid kit, burn care treatment, etc.
Restaurant Safety Tips
While you can never completely prevent accidents altogether, there are few things that can be done to keep your workplace environment safer.
- Utilize non-slip mats in slip prone areas like around sinks
- Ensure that employees wear slip-resistant footwear
- Have employees wear cut-resistant gloves when handling sharp blades
- Keep slicers and other dangerous equipment maintained at all time
- Ensure that employees use oven mitts when handling hot pans
You can find more detailed safety tips here.
When working in a restaurant environment, there is always the potential for accidents. Although you only have so much control over safety, implementing preventative techniques and following the right safety tips should help you lower the odds of injuries significantly.