All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe work environment for their employees and for bars, restaurants and takeaways, this extends to the general public as well.
To lose a valued worker will not only cost money to recruit and replace, but in a highly litigious society the occurrence of slips, trips, burns and other accidents involving staff and members of the public, means insurance claims are on the rise. This is bad for business.
Employers liability and public liability insurance are essential to safeguard every business against these claims, but there are a number of safety precautions you can take to ensure everyone’s well-being.
Slips, trips & falls
These are the most common types of accidents in this industry and are mainly caused by slippery surfaces, wrong footwear, running and failure to use handrails.
So what can be done?
- At all times keep all floors clean and dry.
- Put down floor mats for traction on surfaces that are drying.
- Clean up spills immediately, alert staff and warn the public by using a wet floor sign.
- De-clutter all exits, aisles and passageways.
- Use non-skid wax near water prone areas such as sinks and dishwashers.
- Do not run cables down communal areas.
- Fix uneven flooring as soon as possible.
- Wear the right footwear when washing the floor.
- Install adequate lighting.
- Fit sturdy handrails to stairwells.
- Ensure customers and employees walk and do not run.
Burns & cutting equiptment
Hot liquids, surfaces, and sharp utensils and kitchen appliances are a significant hazard in most professional kitchens and improper handling can result in many cuts, burns and scolds.
- Train employees in proper handling techniques such as opening lids away from the body and using dry cloths to pick up hot items.
- Make sure saucepan and pot handles are pointing away from the kitchen area.
- Use a tray to serve hot plates, liquids and utensils, warning both staff and customers.
- Allow hot liquids to cool before handling and disposal.
- A window in the kitchen door increases passage visibility for service staff.
- Knives should be regularly sharpened and washed separately.
- There are many different types of knives – use the right one!
- Non-slip cutting boards are a must-have.
- Train employees to use machinery safely.
- Non-slip cutting boards are a must-have.
- All machines must have easily accessed off buttons and safety guards attached.
Manual handling and lifting of heavy goods such plates, pots, pans and continual bending down can cause serious injuries and often result in muscle strain over long periods of time.
These MSDs are widespread in the industry, so what can be done?
- Train all employees in proper lifting techniques.
- Lift with your legs, not with your back and keep the load close to your body.
- Mechanical aids such as trolleys can save time and injury. They should be easily accessible.
- Purchase lighter quantities of stock from suppliers and stock shelves safely.
Toxic chemicals and liquids
Coming into contact with dangerous or toxic chemicals such as dishwasher and washing up detergents, drain, oven and toilet cleaners, bleach and other disinfectants can cause irritation and burns to the skin and eyes or cause breathing problems. Businesses should also be wary of contact with food juices meat, fish and even juices and vegetables.
- Cleaning products should be kept in designated containers, with the associated risk clearly recognisable.
- Ensure employees wear protective clothing such as masks, glasses, gloves, boots and even inhalation protection, when using dangerous cleaning chemicals.
- Ensure bathrooms and kitchens have proper ventilation.
- Ensure employees are trained in how to handle and use hazardous chemicals.
- All cooking utensils should be thoroughly washed after each use.
-Drink dispensers use pressurised carbon dioxide and these can present a huge risk. Make sure you provide ventilation in the confined receptacle areas, use the appropriate warning signs and train employees in the right procedures.
-Fire hazards – hot liquids, gas and naked flames are all prone to causing accidents so take precautions and regularly check equipment is working properly, extractor units are clean and filters replaced, clearly mark fire escapes and install fire sprinklers and extinguishers.
Psychosocial – These are linked to the physical and mental demands of work leading to stress, harassment and violence. By introducing flexible work hours, reducing long shifts and heavy workloads can dramatically improve these hazards.