A restaurant can be a hectic place to work, particularly during rush, but peaks in business shouldn’t mean your staff has to be at higher risk of physical injury. In 2012, studies showed that there were nearly 25,000 work-related injuries in the retail sales industry and one and a half times that in the restaurant industry. Taking the right precaution can keep your employees safe and reduce the risk of liability for your establishment. Take these steps to improve the safety of your restaurant.
Dress Codes Are More Than Just an Aesthetic
Implementing a designated dress code policy can create a sense of professionalism and consistency to your business, but it can also help keep your employees safe. Requiring non-slip and closed-toe shoes in the kitchen can greatly reduce your risk of slip and fall injuries and also minimize the long-term pains that come from back of house standing on their feet for hours at a time. You also want to reduce the presence of baggy clothing in the kitchen to reduce the risk of burn injuries. A meticulous approach to hygiene can reduce the risk of contaminated foods or the spread of airborne bacteria as well.
Training Is Important
The restaurant industry is filled with so many veterans that it can be easy to overlook the need for proper training. Bear in mind that that’s the case for other restaurants as well, and even the longest serving floor manager or head chef may have spent years developing bad safety habits due to a lack of oversight. Safety training should be a core component of your orientation, and you should make sure that this protocol is revisited at least once a year and revised when you add any new equipment to your space. Also consider having employees earn their ServSafe certification from the National Restaurant Association.
Proper Maintenance Is Key
While proper training can help your employees look out for warning signs and take precautions against common accidents, you also need to make sure that the environment isn’t contributing to risks. Have all of your equipment regularly serviced, and perform regular inspections so that you can identify potential risk factors before they become serious. Also look out for potential environmental hazards like exposed wiring or water pipe leaks. Make sure there’s a system in place for employees to report potential maintenance issues.
Have Proper Equipment on Hand
A number of accidents can be prevented with the right tools. Dish washing and cutting gloves can be a great way to reduce the risk of injuries while in the kitchen, while back braces can prevent the threat of back injuries when carrying in the week’s shipments. Also be sure to keep a fully stocked first aid kit available in case the worst happens. Consider assigning one of your managers the responsibility of keeping inventory on your stock of safety equipment.
A healthier environment is a happier and more productive environment, and these inexpensive solutions can go a long way towards protecting your interests. The last thing you want to worry about is getting a call from a workers comp attorney due to negligence on your part.