Managing Safety Risks in your Restaurant
Restaurants can be dangerous places and accidents can be costly. As an operator, you need to understand the health and safety risks associated with restaurant operations and take appropriate preventive measures to minimize risk and liability.
Every day there are plenty of chances for an employee to become injured on the job: slipping, falling and lifting injuries account for more than 40 percent of serious injuries in a restaurant. Consider additionally a busy kitchen during service, full of sharp implements and open flames, or a frenzied bar area with broken glass. Additionally, a customer may become injured while dining at your restaurant, for example by slipping on a greasy floor or tripping on loose carpeting. It is your responsibility to make safety an integral part of your operational procedures.
Here are 4 ways to help minimize your safety risks:
Define Policies and Procedures - Your employee manual is a perfect tool for laying out your restaurant's safety policies and procedures on everything from proper equipment use to shoe wear choices. The handbook should contain as many scenarios as possible so that staff members know what to expect from their job, how to execute the job safely, and how to react in case of a crisis. This is an integral part of your business and a great training tool. See our blog: 4 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs an Employee Handbook, for more on the importance of Employee Handbooks.
Train Employees Thoroughly - Train new employees in correct procedures and behaviors. Use the Employee Handbook as well as frequent demonstrations to support your training. Training is crucial to keep employees from avoiding behaviors that can risk injury. Safety training should also include Food Handling Safety Training, see our blog: 4 Reasons why it is Vital that All Employees are Trained in Food Safety, detailing the reasons for this training.
Safety Training in the Pre-Service Meetings – As discussed in our previous blog: Are Your Pre-Service Meetings a Waste of Time, use pre-service meetings for on-going training and awareness of safety procedures and behaviors in the restaurant. Having a regular safety topic and daily updates for the entire staff keeps these ideas top of mind; complacency is a recipe for accidents. Continue to educate staff on and keep them aware of the potential hazards of working in the restaurant.
Make Safety Part of Manager Evaluations - When safety is integrated in the evaluation criteria for a restaurant manager's review, the manager is apt to take safety more seriously and therefore reinforce the procedures in their employees. Reward managers for low occurrences of injuries and illnesses, or for having regular safety meetings. This is also a good way to hold managers accountable for keeping safety a priority. We have had our clients hang posters on the manager’s office door showing how many days the operation has gone without an accident, for all to see.
Minimizing Safety Risks by having written procedures, proper staff training and holding your staff accountable, can help lower your costs associated with Workmen’s Compensation Claims, Insurance Premiums, and possible lawsuits. To be successful, make sure your business model incorporates ways to actively work to keep both your employees and customers safe.
Don’t know where to begin? Ask yourself, do you have the proper written procedures and operational guidelines in place to help you be as profitable as possible? 4Q Consulting can develop customized operational guidelines and training programs to meet your needs. Email us today for a free business consultation at www.4qconsult.com.
All original content copyright Noelle E. Ifshin, 2012-2013.