Health and Safety in Restaurants
Health and safety in restaurants is often overlooked because it is considered a non-high hazard industry when compared to other occupations. However, this does not mean life-changing injuries and illnesses do not occur in restaurants. In this article, we'll highlight the most common hazards in the restaurant industry and offer up some controls that will decrease the risk of having more injuries and illnesses.
Restaurant Safety Hazards
Restaurants are absolutely notorious for having a few different kinds of hazards, but the most common one is slip, trip, and fall hazards from having a slippery or obstructed walking surface. This is accounts for the overwhelming majority of injuries in restaurants. Here is a good starter list:
- Slips, trips, and falls due to slippery or obstructed walking surfaces
- Cuts and abrasions to hands from kitchen utensil use
- Burns from cooking equipment and hot plates
- Loss of fingertips and entire fingers from meat slicers
- Workplace violence from other employees or customers
Of course, you'll want to add to this list after a good inspection of your facility and a review of previous injuries or illnesses, which you can retrieve from your workers' compensation carrier.
Restaurant Safety Rules
Restaurant safety rules you might want to implement into your operations include:
- No running in the restaurant at anytime
- No horseplay in the restaurant at anytime
- Use protective gloves or other PPE while handling knives and other cutting utensils
- Never use any meat slicing equipment or other equipment unless you have been trained to use it safely
- Use safe work procedures while cooking and handling hot plates to avoid burns
- Treat all other employees as you would like to be treated at all times
A commonly overlooked safety issue with restaurants is ergonomics. The issues present themselves when a work station such as a dishwashing area or cooking area does not take into account proper body positioning and range of motion of the employee. Therefore, an inspection of each work station and some observation of individuals using these stations should be conducted in order to identify repetitive motions that could lead to injury. Sometimes, the purchase of new equipment or a complete re-design of the kitchen layout is required in order to eliminate the hazards. But it's still usually cheaper than a workers' comp claim for a repetitive motion disorder from working in an unsafe body position for extended lengths of time.
Restaurant Safety Checklist
A health and safety restaurant safety checklist is used to identify hazards in the restaurant. It can consist of just about anything, but here are some common sense things to look for in a checklist:
- Slip, trip, fall hazards
- Safe work procedures being used by employees
- Workstations free of unnecessary debris or equipment
- Employees trained to use the equipment they are using
- Proper PPE such as gloves, non-slip shoes being worn
Restaurant Safety Manual
The purpose of a restaurant safety manual is to establish some basic policies and procedures for your restaurant that promote a safe and health workplace. A good restaurant safety manual will contain all the possible hazards your restaurant may face; allowing you to customize it to your specific restaurant by deleting or adding content yourself. Our restaurant safety manual
accomplishes this and leaves room for you to add your own logo, letterhead, or other artwork you desire.