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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Best Practices for Restaurant Safety: Part 2

As Part 1 discussed, and restaurant workers know, the kitchen and the dining area can be a stressful and, at times, dangerous environment. Food handling, storage, equipment sanitation, and personal hygiene advice can be found in the first article.

Ensuring restaurant safety is pivotal to all employees, owners, and customers experience alike.  Below is the continuation of safety tips to benefit workers and business owners.

Slips, Trips, Falls

During service, especially at peak times, the kitchen can become a hazardous area that can cause slips, trips, and falls due to slippery surfaces, poor lighting, and clutter. Slips and falls can result in traumatic injuries that can be costly for restaurant workers and business owners. Here are some ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls in restaurants:

  • Install rubber mats for slippery surfaces. Perforated mats allow grease and food to fall through that can be cleaned up at the end of service by removing the mat.
  • Encourage workers to wear non-slip soled shoes both in the kitchen and the front-of-house.
  • Ensure kitchens, walkways, and stairwells are well lit.
  • Mop and dry slippery surfaces and spills immediately.
  • Be aware of blind spots in the kitchen and front-of-house and move slowly around them.

Burns

Burns are one of the main causes of injury in the kitchen, and they happen quickly and easily if restaurant workers are not attentive and if the proper precautions have not been taken. Follow these simple steps to prevent or reduce the likelihood of burn injuries in the kitchen:

  • Never leave hot oil unattended, and wait until the oil or grease cools before handling.
  • Dry food before cooking it in oil and keep liquids away from fryers. Use splash guards to prevent burns from hot oil or water.
  • Switch off stoves, grills, and other heating equipment when not in use.
  • Keep pot handles and metal utensils away from heat sources.
  • Ensure workers wear adequate protective gear and there is always a first aid kit with burn cream accessible.

Cuts and Lacerations

Cuts and lacerations are another common kitchen injury. These are usually causing by poor equipment handling and maintenance. Here are some things you can do to reduce the incidences of cuts and lacerations in your kitchen:

  • Ensure slicers, mixers, blenders, and other hazardous equipment are fitted with safety guards. Never remove the guards while operating the equipment.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry near operating machinery.
  • Keep machinery maintained, including sharpening cutting blades, and cleaning internal mechanisms.
  • Keep knives and other cutting equipment sharp. Ideally, workers should sharpen knives before each preparation and service. Sharp knives cause fewer injuries than dull knives.
  • Separate broken glass and china from the other trash items.

Summary

Restaurants can be dangerous places to work if the proper precautions are not taken. Workplace injuries and foodborne illness can be financially devastating for hospitality businesses, so following best safety practices is essential for maintaining a successful restaurant operation. While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it can provide you with the basis for a safe and clean restaurant. However, it is important that workers and business owners remember the key to having a safe restaurant is through knowledge and training.

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