Restaurants and industrial kitchens harbor many potential accidents categorized as slips, trips and falls; lifting and carrying; burns; fires; cuts; and chemicals.
Minimizing Slips, Trips & Falls in Food Service
Keep the floor clean.
- Choose cleaning products for their grease-removal and slip-resistant properties.
- Establish a floor-cleaning schedule.
- Ask whether or not a chemical slip-resistant treatment will enhance the safety of existing flooring material.
- Investigate rubber or fabric-faced mats with non-slip backing.
- If in a position to provide slip-resistant floor surfacing, the case when the nonprofit is building from scratch or renovating a facility to specifications, look for those that are slip-resistant even when wet.
Keep the floor dry.
- Train staff to protect themselves by automatically cleaning up a spill as soon as it occurs and placing cautionary signs around the spot until the floor is dry.
- Check seals on ice machines and refrigerators.
- Provide ice scoops to minimize spills from ice machines.
Make daily inspections to identify and correct that:
- Floor drain lids fit tightly.
- Employees are wearing closed-toe, skid-resistant shoes and their shoelaces remain tied.
- Uniform pant legs are hemmed and don’t drag the floor.
- Boxes, crates, pallets and electrical cords aren’t cluttering the aisles.
- Lighting is adequate.
- Ladders are used properly.
- Employees carry loads without blocking their vision
- Horseplay is nonexistent.
Minimizing Lifting and Carrying Injuries in Food Service
- Train employees to lift 50 lb. loads safely to protect their backs.
- Show employees how to lift with their legs, take small steps and change direction — not by twisting, but — by moving their feet when handling items.
- Mark extra-heavy loads to warn workers to use a dolly or cart to lift them.
- Aisles should be wide enough so cases won’t hit shelves.
- Store heavy loads at waist height
- Train workers to put the heaviest item in the center of a tray.
Minimizing Burns in Food Service
As always, proper training and ongoing in-service refresher courses on recognizing and controlling hazards make a difference in workplace safety. In addition, employers of food service workers can be vigilant that:
- Potholders are within easy to reach of hot dishes and containers.
- The range has adequate room for safe handling of pots to reduce steam and scalding burns.
- Temperature, pressure relief valves or other safety devices are installed, which help reduce the possible explosion of water heating systems.
- Water heaters and mixing valves are regulated to reduce scalding by hot water in sinks.
- Workers are trained to stand back from automated lids on equipment such as braising pans or steam-jacketed kettles.
- Only trained and authorized workers wearing personal protective equipment and following written procedures for the equipment are allowed to condition deep-fryer grease.
Minimizing Fires in Food Service
Teaching food service workers simple housekeeping rules can do a lot.
- Never leave dishrags, aprons and other cloth near any hot surface.
- Never leave stoves or other equipment unattended when in use.
- Clean range hoods and stoves on schedule according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Do not overload outlets
- Do not force three-pronged plugs into two-prong outlets.
- Do not use electrical equipment with a frayed cord or bent prongs.
- Do not use equipment if it smokes, sparks, or otherwise looks suspicious and unsafe.
Everyone should know that if a fire occurs, they should respond quickly and properly. They should know the building evacuation plan, what the alarm sounds like, how to turn on the alarm, where to find a proper extinguisher and how to use it. There are different extinguishers for different sources of fire: grease, chemical, electrical, paper, etc.
- Keep knife blades sharp, handles secure and store with blades covered.
- Electric slicers should only be run by trained workers with all machine guards in place and in good working condition.
Minimize Chemical Hazards
- Educate food service workers about chemical hazards and how to protect themselves.Make safety information for each chemical readily available.
- Food service workers must read and follow instructions and learn the type of hazard (fire, explosion or burn), the type of exposure (eyes, skin or respiratory) and the protective procedures (goggles, ventilation or gloves).
- Store cleaning chemicals in their original containers with tight lids separate and in a secure area away from food, or heat sources.
- Never mix chemicals.
- Only use chemicals in well ventilated areas (not closed spaces).Follow label directions when disposing of the containers.
- Wash their hands after using or touching any chemical or equipment used with a chemical.
OSHA Regulations concerning the food service industry.
- Fire prevention rule (29 CFR 1910.37-38) requires emergency exits, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, emergency escape plans and (29 CFR 1910.157) portable fire extinguishers in the workplace.Electrical safety rule (29 CFR 1910.333-335) covers inspection and use of portable electrical equipment and extension cords.Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), also known as "Right to Know," covers chemicals. It says employees have the right to know about the chemical hazards on the job and how to protect against them.
- Housekeeping rule [29 CFR 1910.22(a)]. It states that all places of employment, passageways, storerooms and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition. It also calls for clean and, as far as possible, dry floors.
Keeping Employees Safe in the Kitchen
Managing the Risk of Foodborne Illness