When it comes to the foodservice industry, there are other safety concerns that need to be addressed, and many are in the kitchen and affect your employees:
1. Know the risks during food preparation. Water, grease and oil can spill during the cleaning process. Make sure employees know how to properly clean the floors. Just like in the dining areas of your restaurant, spills and slick spots need to be cleaned up immediately. It should be company policy to hold all employees accountable for reporting and/or cleaning up wet areas right away. It’s also worth buying special floor mats that will help drain away any small spills and reduce the slip and fall risk.
2. Proper footwear matters. It is not practical for someone to work in a kitchen wearing 5” stiletto heels. Employes need to wear shoes with slip-resistant soles. This is easy to follow if your employees are required to wear specific uniforms. If not, make it part of the employee handbook and send people home if their shoes could be dangerous for their job. You don’t want the liability of someone slipping because their shoes are not made for the job.
3. Kitchen tools can be dangerous. There’s just no way around using a knife in a restaurant. Employees should receive proper training and wear cut and puncture-resistant gloves and other protective gear.
4. Sanitation is king. A small mistake or oversight in sanitation can make people sick, and potentially cost you your business. As mentioned, employees should wear hair nets and gloves while preparing food. But food safety goes way beyond that. You need to color code your cleaning supplies so you’re not spreading germs from other areas of the restaurant into your kitchen. Use separate cooking and preparation tools for raw meats, fish and poultry than you do for fruits, vegetables and prepared foods. And always teach proper hand-washing. If you sit and watch, you’d probably be amazed at how few people follow the recommended guidelines for hand-washing. Make sure to train and remind employees and even post signs reminding them of proper technique to kill germs and bacteria.
5. Don’t let pests invade. No matter how much you clean, bugs, roaches and creepy crawlies can find their way into your restaurant. The right insecticide can help keep them away. Just make sure that your insecticide is safe for use around food.
6. Train and train again. It can only help your business to provide frequent training for your employees. Proper education is the only way to make sure employees know the rules, safety precautions and what’s expected of them when it comes to cleaning and safety. People can get stuck in bad habits. Training will ensure they know how you expect the job to be done.
7. When in doubt, ask the experts. If you’re not sure about certain safety or health precautions in your restaurant, check with your local health department or OSHA. It’s better to be safe than sorry.