The restaurant industry is a hub for injuries and illnesses. Dangerous work environments and long hours are a toxic mix that increases the risk for you, the business owner.
Installing and enforcing policies that keep your restaurant employees safe is important for compliance and doing your duty to your staff. With 93,800 non-fatal injuries and illnesses in the restaurant industry in 2019, kitchens and dining rooms are more dangerous than many people think.
Here’s how to keep your restaurant employee safe.
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Take Out Restaurant Insurance
Accidents happen, and the longer you’re in business, the more likely you are to experience a mishap. Unfortunately, even the best health and safety policies can only go so far. Possessing the proper protection is pivotal to ensuring your employees and the public are taken care of.
For example, consider workers’ comp insurance and the role it plays. If one of your team is away with an injury, this type of protection ensures they have their medical bills and lost salaries covered. It’s also mandatory in nearly every state.
Restaurant insurance packages contain several policies that protect your brand against the most common risks, such as falling in the dining room, food contamination, and more.
Remember, the restaurant industry has an injury rate of 107 per 10,000 workers, which is among the highest of any economic sector.
Start with Education and Awareness
Knowledge is power. If your staff hasn’t been appropriately trained, they’re a liability. Staff training is mandatory in most jurisdictions, so if you’re not providing access to essential materials, you take a massive chance with your business.
Emergencies can arise at any time. What if a customer has a heart attack in your dining room? What if a kitchen fire starts? How will people get out if they need to evacuate?
People without proper knowledge are at greater risk of panic, leading to injury or worse.
You must have protocols in place for preventing accidents and how to react if an emergency occurs. Unfortunately, too many restaurants offer this training to new employees and assume they’ll remember it forever. The truth is there should be regular refresher courses through a written retraining schedule.
Doing your part demonstrates your commitment to safety and can also serve as evidence of compliance if you’re audited.
Organize Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the most dangerous part of your restaurant. Small, cramped conditions filled with people can lead to grease spillages, cuts, and food contamination. In addition, hot surfaces and fire risks are everywhere.
While there’s little you can do to resolve this problem without investing in a larger space, an organized kitchen ensures smoother work and reduces the risk of common catastrophes, including:
- Falling knives
- Hot spillages
- Mixing ingredients with cleaning agents
Keeping a clutter-free kitchen can improve your efficiency and mitigates potential disaster. Of course, even the most experienced chef can make mistakes, but you can reduce the damage by checking for compliance with internal kitchen safety policies.
Invest in Proper Uniform
Most outsiders believe that restaurant uniforms are a fashion choice to craft a professional image. Your uniform choice does have this effect, but it’s also designed to be functional by providing ease of movement and protection.
There’s a reason why most waiters don’t wear restrictive clothing and that chefs tend to have loose but not floppy uniforms. However, uniforms can pose a risk, which is why you’ll also see most restaurants opting for broadly similar uniform styles.
Install an Emergency Response System
Emergency response systems are rarely associated with the hospitality industry, but they remain just as important. Your best guarantee for safety is prevention and being proactive.
For example, assigning a designated first aid responder within your team means you’re doing your best for staff and customers. You were making first aid kits available. Providing evacuation plans. These are just some of the moving parts of any good emergency response system.
In many jurisdictions, your emergency response system’s aspects are considered mandatory, so you will be audited if an inspector visits.
Did you know that the second most common cause of injury in the restaurant environment is slips, trips, and falls?
Floor safety applies to the front and back-of-house of your restaurant. Clear paths of movement, maintaining uncluttered walkways, and installing non-skid surfaces are just some of the ways you can ensure floor safety.
It also applies to the more minute aspects of the job, such as limiting the number of plates waiters are permitted to carry at one time, along with who’s required to give way on busy nights.
Keeping everything moving can save your restaurant a lot of cost and disruption.
Tens of thousands of restaurants find themselves fighting lawsuits and paying out settlements every year. As a result, most restauranteurs wait for a surprise inspection from an official body to find out how they’re doing.
However, you can enhance your level of safety by ordering independent audits for yourself. These audits are carried out by private companies and hold no regulatory weight but can provide pointers on how you can improve.
Rather than waiting to get written up by a health and safety inspector or for an accident to occur, ordering an audit now can enable you to rework your policies and improve enforcement.
Restaurants are among the hardest businesses to run. Get peace of mind by improving your existing health and safety policies.
On top of a comprehensive health and safety policy, you need protection should the worst happen. Restaurant insurance packages guarantee that you’re protected from whatever might happen.
Have you taken out restaurant insurance for your diner yet?