5 Tips To Ensure Safety In Your Restaurant

5 Tips To Ensure Safety In Your Restaurant

While dining out may be a relaxing and luxurious experience for customers, it’s often a different story for the restaurant staff. Behind the kitchen doors are a world of potentially hot, dangerous, and highly stressful conditions.

The kitchen staff faces some of the greatest safety risks, but you can’t underestimate the beaming smiles of the waitstaff. Safety issues can crop up anywhere. Here are five ways you can ensure safety in your establishment while ensuring a superb experience for your customers.

With open flames, hot liquids, potential spillages, and sharp equipment, there are many hazards present in a restaurant. In order to keep your establishment safe and hygienic for both your employees and customers, it’s essential to be aware of these risks and to reduce them as much as possible by following these basic steps:

  • Train staff in food and fire safety procedures.
  • Train staff to use equipment safely and properly.
  • Provide employees with high-quality safety equipment.
  • Prevent common restaurant injuries including trips and slips.

Ensure Your Staff Are Trained In Restaurant Safety Procedures

To maintain a safe working environment, it’s important that each of your staff members follows the relevant safety procedures. After all, your restaurant is only as safe as the employees who work for you.

Food Safety and Hygiene

Food needs to be handled safely if you want to prevent disasters such as food poisoning or cross-contamination. Ensure that your employees know where the different foods should be appropriately stored and attention is paid to product holding temperatures. For example, meats in particular need to be properly handled to avoid salmonella. It’s important to ensure your staff undergoes regular training sessions so they’re always up to date with health and safety regulations and requirements. And of course, the health of your staff is very important.

While an office worker might get away with going to work with the flu or food poisoning, a restaurant worker will most certainly not. Prevent the spread of infections by teaching your staff to report certain illnesses and how the managers should respond.

Implement Fire Safety Procedures

Arguably one of the most life-threatening incidents, fire is a hazard that you will most certainly want to avoid. Ensure that your kitchen staff are always alert and paying attention when cooking dishes is one of the easiest ways to prevent fires. However there are other measures you can take, should an accident happen:

  • Keep flammable objects away from flames.
  • Ensure your employees know how to put out the different types of fire and which fire extinguisher to use. Remember there is no one extinguisher that can put out all classes of fire.
  • Have a clear evacuation plan and display this where everyone can see it.
  • Teach your employees how to turn off gas and electrical power in the case of an emergency.

Operate The Restaurant Equipment Safely and Properly

Teaching your employees how to use restaurant kitchen equipment properly should already be an integral part of their training. Ensure that they know how to use the equipment and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid electrical hazards by keeping the equipment away from wet areas and regularly inspecting the cords for signs of damage. If there are signs of damage, stop using the appliance immediately until you can replace the cord. Never attempt to repair faulty appliances by yourself. Always have a professional inspect them.

Invest In High Quality Protective Uniform and Equipment

Even the highest trained employee who always follows the proper safety procedures will be at risk if they don’t wear the necessary protective uniform. Kitchen staff should always be properly covered up in order to protect them from burns and spills. And while it might be tempting to go for the cheaper option, the quality of their uniform can have a massive impact on your staff.

For example, a cheap uniform made from poor quality materials won’t offer as high a level of protection as a high-quality one would. Cheap footwear is likely to be made from low-quality fabrics that will deteriorate from wear and tear more quickly, and have poor tread so your staff will be more prone to slips, trips, and falls. Consider investing in high-quality uniforms and slip-resistant shoes so your staff will be able to work at their full potential, whipping up delicious gourmet meals while safe in the knowledge that they are protected from burns, spills, and slips.

Prevent Common Restaurant Accidents and Injuries

A restaurant is full of basic hazards and common injuries just waiting to happen unless the appropriate precautions are in place to prevent them.

Slips, Falls, Strains and Sprains

Your busy kitchen can get particularly hazardous during peak times. Spills are one of the most common causes of injury in a restaurant workplace. Worse yet, they can put both your employees and your customers at risk. Ensure that all spills are dealt with as soon as possible and wet floors are clearly marked with wet floor signs, regardless of whether the wet patch is in a tiny corner of your restaurant or right in the middle. Also, look into investing in having slip-resistant kitchen floor mats on hand as well as grease-resistant floor mats, so you can go the extra mile in ensuring your staff's safety. 

If your establishment is gifted with lots of space, make sure commonly used items are kept in easy-to-reach places. Repeated bending, twisting, and crouching isn’t good for the joints so where possible, keep these popular tools within arm’s reach.

Burns and Eye Injuries

When your staff is rushing around and trying to cook food in time, it’s easy for hot liquids to spill. Burns are easily attained, even without a fire. Grease and chemicals can easily splash up and injure the eyes if they aren’t covered. Prevent burns and eye injury by training your staff to wear the appropriate uniform. Ensure they use the proper equipment, such as kitchen gloves and safety mitts, when handling hot items and cleaning. There are also eye washing sinks available in the event someone gets something in their eye.

Lacerations and Punctures

Where there are knives and other sharp hazards, there will always be the risk of being cut. You can invest in cut-resistant gloves if you want to be extra cautious. Your employees will thank you for it!

Stress The Importance Of Sanitation To Your Employees

You should already know the importance of sanitation and why it should be in place at every restaurant. In order to protect your customers and your reputation, ensure that your staff is always updating their knowledge and undergoing regular training sessions. This ensures maintaining health and safety is embedded in their subconscious and is present in every task they do.

A busy restaurant can be filled to the brim with hazards, but you can easily minimize the risks for both your employees and customers by following safety procedures and where necessary, wearing proper equipment. If accidents do happen, ensure that you are prepared, and have a proper procedure in place to deal with them. And as a manager, you should always be prepared. Look for signs of potential problems, whether that’s by monitoring internal communications or following public health developments, and be ready to act on them.

About the Author:

Tom Larkin is Marketing Controller with Shoes For Crews (Europe) Limited. Previously Tom held senior marketing roles on the client and agency side for companies in both London and Dublin.

Shoes For Crews (Europe) are one of the world's leading manufacturers of slip-resistant and safety footwear. They are an industry leader in safety for over three decades and to date have kept over 100,000 workplaces safe worldwide. Shoes for Crews unique slip-resistant outsoles are developed with the distinct mission of keeping workers safe across multiple industries. A recent relaunch of its brand has seen more stylish and comfortable shoes being introduced, including new innovative features such as spill and trip resistance. www.sfceurope.com

Comments

  1. comment authorDeepa SharmaApr 13, 2018

    Safety in every restaurant is very important. It is the responsibility of every food business owner to follow kitchen safety and compliance guidelines.

  2. comment authorCorporate Catering VaughanSep 29, 2018

    As safety is a top most priority of every business and in restaurant business it is top level needed so that any of the casualty won’t happen as in restaurant there are lots of place which need to be work with carefully and lots of points to be remember during the working.

  3. comment authorSylvia AlbroAug 20, 2019

    Train staff in food and fire safety procedures. Train staff to use equipment safely and properly. Provide employees with high-quality safety equipment. Prevent common restaurant injuries including trips and slips.

  4. comment authorDylan PetersonSep 25, 2019

    I like what you said about making sure that your staff is trained in restaurant safety to prevent injuries and diseases. My brother wants to start an Italian restaurant, and he wants to make sure that no one gets hurt on the job. I'll pass this information along to him for his consideration.

  5. comment authorHenry KillingsworthFeb 11, 2020

    You made a great point when you explained that the kitchen staff of a restaurant should always be alert to the potential of fires. In addition to that, I would think that it would be important for the owner to make sure that there are fire suppression systems installed on the ceilings. That way if there are flames, they will be put out quickly.

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