Restaurants are bustling, fast-paced, and often hectic places. Add sharp knives, open flames, hot surfaces, and sometimes crowded conditions, and it’s no wonder the risk of injury in a restaurant can be higher than other businesses. It just comes with the territory. So as a restaurant owner, it’s vital that you have adequate workers’ compensation coverage for every employee, for their protection and yours. Workers’ comp coverage and injury prevention go hand-in-hand. Here are a few kitchen safety tips and ideas to help keep your restaurant safe and injury-free.
Establish Ongoing Safety Trainings
One major step toward preventing injuries throughout your restaurant is to conduct regular staff safety training. At Cerity, we have experience in restaurant industry prevention, so we know what you need to keep everyone from the front of house to the back of house safe.
The National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe certification program is a great start for any employee. Their courses in food safety and sanitation practices serve as a strong foundation for any continuing safety education program.
Safe Equipment Operation Is #1
Employee training should always start with the ins and outs of proper equipment operation and tool handling. Whether you’re working with blenders, slicers, knives, or other appliances, each holds its own potential for injury. Train every employee on the correct way to use each piece of kitchen equipment and how to recognize when something may be faulty or hazardous.
- Handle correctly – Teach all employees the proper handling and use of equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Avoid electrical hazards – Keep electrical appliances, equipment, and cords away from water and wet areas. Check electrical cords regularly for signs of damage, and stop using anything that is damaged.
- Stay ahead of appliance failure – Conduct regular inspections, and have repairs handled by professionals. Trying to repair appliances by yourself can lead to injuries, especially if you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing.
- Provide all necessary safety equipment – Many tasks require protective equipment, such as potholders, gloves, or glasses. If it isn’t available, employees will likely take shortcuts to perform their duties. Those shortcuts inevitably lead to injuries, so make sure your restaurant is fully stocked with what your workers need to safely do their jobs every day.
Prevent basic injuries on the job – When employees know how to prevent and avoid simple injuries, your workers’ compensation claims will decline, leading to lower premiums.
The following injuries happen often, but they can easily be prevented with attention to detail and awareness of your surroundings:
- Spills – Spills can lead to slips, trips, and falls, which are the most frequent injuries to food service workers according to EHS Today. Clean up any slippery areas immediately and put up wet floor signs to alert co-workers and customers to the potential danger. For more information, visit our Article: Prevent Trips and Falls.
- Cuts and puncture wounds – Between slicers, broken glasses, and multitude of knives in a restaurant, employees are often at great risk of cutting themselves. Encourage proper carrying and handling of knives in kitchen and bar areas. This includes saying “Sharp behind!” when walking with knives around others, taking care when using and transporting knife rolls, and paying close attention to cutting and slicing tasks.
- Burns – While using & handling stoves, ovens, hot foods, and liquids, the possibility for burns increases considerably. Provide plenty of towels, oven mitts and pot holders for each member of your staff. Also, keep burn remedies (such as antibiotic ointments and bandages) on hand in case of an accident, and train your employees to know how to handle such an event.
- Sprains and strains – Repetitive motions are common in kitchens and restaurants, especially during peak rushes. Keep frequently used tools and items in close reach, encourage regular breaks for stretching and resting, and provide education on how to lift safely to avoid back injuries. All these practices will help minimize sprains and strains throughout the body.
- Eye injuries – Splashes can happen at any time in a restaurant, from hot grease and liquid ingredients to cleaning supplies. Make sure eye protection is available and within reach, and provide proper training for cleaning workspaces and common areas.
When it comes to finding workers’ compensation insurance that best fits your needs and protects your employees when accidents happen, we’re here to help. Get a quote today, be covered tomorrow. With Cerity, it’s that simple.