The Importance of Employers Preventing Workplace Injuries in Restaurants
Workplace injuries for those who work in restaurant kitchens can be severe and life-threatening. As a result, in order for restaurants to provide reasonably safe working environment , they should not only provide proper safety training, but also have the right equipment in place to prevent the many burns, cuts, slips, and trips that occur each year, as we discuss below.
Grease pans and other fryer amenities help reduce the risk of burns for workers who have to lower food into hot oil as well as clean deep fryers. These pans should include the following, at a minimum, in order to ensure safety:
- Pans that dump grease automatically;
- Basket lifts on fryers that automatically lower and remove food into an out of hot oil; and
- Fryers with splash guards.
Protective guards are also helpful to have on grills.
Slip & Falls
Slip and falls account for the most common injuries in restaurants every year. As a result, workers should have durable shoes that protect their feet and legs. This includes slip-resistant, closed toed shoes; ideally with rubber soles and/or specifically advertised as “non-slip.” Employers should also consider putting in place a shoe safety program that includes payroll deductions and a clear policy on safe footwear. Workers should be able to easily move in these shoes in case of contact with hot liquid.
Floor mats also help prevent slip and falls by keeping the floors clean of liquid spills. They should not only have wide holes to help with the foot traction, but be suction-backed in order to prevent movement, made of thick durable rubber, and cut to size so that they cover all work services. The anti-fatigue mats are also often comfortable for those on the feet.
Gloves and hand protection are also crucial. Kitchens should be stocked with protection gear and gloves mitts and potholders should be used whenever possible. Gloves should be cut-resistant and sturdy.
Sharper knives are safer than dull ones because dull blades are prone to slipping and therefore can cause more lacerations. Knives should be properly sharpened and stored and any knife racks should have magnetic strips to keep the knives table.
Protective guards on slicing equipment can help keep blades out of reach. Employees should also be trained on how to properly use of these guards.
While every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher for fire suppression, larger kitchen kitchens may need something more sophisticated, for example, something that automatically shuts off gas lines and sprays a fire suppressant when tripped. Also make sure that hoods over cooking stations are cleaned regularly in order to avoid risk of grease fire.
Dollies and carts and other equipment can help prevent employees from getting back injuries. Make sure that lifting aids are provided when possible and that they are designed for a kitchen
A number of food away storage containers should also be provided, including but not limited to:
- Bulk storage containers;
- Buckets designed for broken glass (broken glass should never be placed in the regular trash cans);
- Ingredient bins storage boxes and containers with lids;
- Vegetable crisper bins; and
- Waste bins.
Documented Safety Policies
The proper documents entailing relevant safety policies should explain all the safety equipment, where it is located, how to properly use it, and make any equipment user manuals available. They should also include basic hygiene safety protocols, escape plans, maps noting emergency exits, and outline expectations for communications and procedures for staff.
Contact Our Texas Workplace Injury Recovery Attorneys with Questions
The best way to prevent workplace injuries is to prevent unsafe habits. If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury while working in a Texas restaurant, contact our Houston workplace injury attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help.