On-the-job injuries and illnesses can impact your business with lower employee productivity and morale, increased workers’ compensation claims, and OSHA fines for unsafe working conditions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nearly 2.8 million workplace injuries were reported in service industries including restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
With such staggering statistics, it’s important for restaurant owners to foster a safe workplace. Here are four common hazards restaurant owners can address to make their businesses safer:
1. Slips, trips, and falls
Slips, trips, and falls are the number one cause of worker injuries across all industries. For restaurants, wet or greasy floors can heighten the risk. Make sure all spills are cleaned up immediately. Keep a mop and bucket in an easily accessible area and use separate mops for front-of-house and back-of-house spills so that kitchen grease isn’t brought into public areas. Place anti-skid rubber mats near sinks, stoves and dishwashers, and be sure to replace them if they become worn or warped.
2. Inhalation injuries or illnesses
To prevent inhalation injuries or illnesses from hazardous materials, clearly label all materials and review specific handling procedures with all employees. Make sure workers who come in contact with these materials wear protective gear including face masks, aprons and gloves. You should review OSHA’s hazard communications list, which includes many common kitchen chemicals that may not immediately come to mind such as bleach, oven cleaners, and ammonia amongst others.
3. Cuts and lacerations
To reduce the risk of cuts and lacerations make sure all workers know how to properly handle slicing equipment and kitchen knives. And don’t forget to keep a first aid kit stocked and easily accessible.
Hot ovens, boiling water, and splattered oil can increase the likelihood of a severe kitchen burn. So make sure that workers use proper safety gear, including gloves, hats and aprons. If a burn occurs, immediately rinse the affected area under cool running water and then loosely wrap it with a gauze bandage.
It’s a good idea to post emergency contact information as well as the name, number and location of the closest hospital or urgent care clinic in an area where employees can quickly find it. For more information on restaurant safety, including signage and other resources, contact your state’s department of labor, OSHA, your insurance agent, or insurance carrier. Knowing how to identify and prevent the most common restaurant safety hazards including
- slips, trips, and falls
- hazardous chemicals
- cuts and lacerations
- and burns
can help you protect your business’ most valuable asset… your employees.
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