Food industry employees have 60% more likelihood of suffering from occupational hazards than people in other sectors. In fact, severe injuries in the food industry leading to workers' inability to go to work occur "more than twice as frequent".
That means your restaurant's employees are at greater risk of for injuries or illnesses!
As a restaurant owner, that's one of the last things you want to happen. Not only because of liability concerns but also because you want to protect your people's health and safety. Their health is key to productivity, after all.
Safety policies should then be a top priority in your establishment. These prevent serious hazards that can burn your restaurant to the ground.
But what exactly are these dangers that kitchen safety rules can avert? Read on to learn seven of them!
1. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Liquids are a part of the kitchen, but they don't belong on the floor. Despite this, EHS Today reports that slips (along with trips and falls) still top the list of hazards in the foodservice sector.
Loss of balance due to insecure footing causes slips. Trips occur when an object on the ground causes a person to lose his/her balance. Slips and trips most often lead to falls.
As you can see, all three have something to do with the loss of balance. According to EHS though, slippery floors result in more than half (55%) of injuries from slips, trips, and falls.
2. Fire Hazards
In 2016 alone, a whopping 1,342,000 cases of fire occurred in the U.S. More than a third of these were structural fires. These include fires in restaurants and other food establishments.
Cooking equipment alone causes more than half (57%) of restaurant fires. Don't think that open fires are the only culprit - even electrical appliances can give rise to these unwanted events. Don't forget that your kitchen houses so many flammable and combustible items, such as cooking oils and chemical solutions.
3. Chemical Hazards
Those soaps, degreasers, and drain-clearing chemicals you use to keep the back of the restaurant clean? Those can also give rise to kitchen hazards. Their improper use can cause skin problems and even chemical burns.
4. Falling Objects
Falling objects, such as pots, pans, knives, and yes, even that pepper mill, can all lead to serious injuries in your restaurant employees. Whether due to improper stacking or collapsing shelving, these falling items can cause cuts, abrasions, bumps, and even concussions.
5. Machinery Accidents
Commercial kitchens house equipment for cutting, chopping, slicing, grilling, and searing food. However, improper use, poor maintenance, and faulty equipment can lead to these machines doing the same to your people.
6. Sprains, Strains, and Pains
Sprains and strains are types of soft-tissue injuries prevalent in kitchen professionals. After all, these experts perform many repetitive tasks, from those involving the knife to lifting to bending.
Whichever the case, these occupational hazards can cause minor to serious pains. Worse, they can further increase your employees' risks of getting into other accidents.
7. Food Hazards
Food hazards, including poisoning and toxicity, are dangers that don't only affect your kitchen crew - they can also put your diners and your entire business at risk. That's what the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is for, so make sure you train everyone in the kitchen for this.
Make Safety a Top Priority
Remember, there are more than 647 thousand restaurants throughout the country. You don't want to rise to popularity due to people knowing you have a dangerous kitchen.
Besides, keeping your hardworking restaurant employees safe, secure, and healthy is key to protecting your business. To do that, prioritize kitchen safety at all times. Train your people, maintain machinery and equipment, and have the proper safety measures in place.
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