Ask most restaurant owners about the risks they face, and they’re most likely to mention competition, economic conditions and fickle customer tastes.
Sure, these are significant, but to a large extent they are beyond the owner’s control.
What can be controlled, though, are internal risks and liabilities, particularly those related to your employees. Things like the potential for employee injuries and missed time from cuts, burns, slips and falls, electrical shocks, lifting heavy items, reaching for things that are too high and heavy and a whole litany of possible dangers.
Whether quick service, fast casual, casual or fine dining, just about all restaurants face the issues mentioned above. The owner’s challenge, then, is to incorporate design, engineering control and staff training to minimize the impact of these threats. Let’s look at them in a little greater detail:
- Slip and fall: Choosing the proper flooring can make a big difference in eliminating the slippery factor. Installing floor mats in the kitchen may be particularly helpful if water or grease spills occur frequently. Proper floor types and maintenance, as well as training staff on how and how often to maintain the floors will also make a difference. Finally, many restaurants recommend the proper shoes for their staff to reduce the possibility of slipping.
- Cuts and slices: Training new staff in proper chopping techniques will help reduce the incidence of cuts, as will the use of the appropriate types of gloves to avoid slicing and/or puncturing skin.
- Burns: Haste leads to more than just waste. Crowded kitchens and the stress of rush orders often lead to spills and burns that can be avoided by better kitchen set up and staff training.
- Lifting: Training staff in proper lifting techniques, building shelving within reach, providing ladders for higher shelves and ordering bulk items in more manageable weights can all contribute to reducing back injuries in the kitchen.