You’re in the back reviewing the books when your ears suddenly perk to shattering glass and plates crashing to the floor. It’s a sound that’s all too common in restaurants. The consequences though can be much more severe than a few broken glasses.

All it takes is a slip, cut or burn. A greasy floor, incorrectly using cutting utensils or a deep fryer could send an employee or customer to the hospital and land your business in hot water with an expensive lawsuit and rising insurance premiums. How do you make your restaurant hazard-free?

Download Restaurant Safety Checklist

Practice makes perfect and the same can be validated for safety training. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, states for every $1 invested in safety programs, businesses can save between $4-$6 from costs associated with injuries. It’s definitely worth the investment and time. Plus, a safer workplace is the recipe for a better business.

“Lift with the knees!”

It’s a technique that’s been instilled in our brains since the days of gym class, yet people continue to lift with their back. Restaurant employees are constantly lifting, whether that’s awkwardly picking up a serving plate full of food and drinks or a heavy box of produce weighing in excess of 60 pounds. The waiting staff, bussers and cooks are at high risk for suffering neck, back and shoulder strains.

To prevent such injuries from occurring, focus on teaching proper ways to carry and lift items. Carrying plates with elbows close to your body can lessen the strain on the arms and back. Items that require heavy lifting should be placed on shelves located in the “power zone.” This is the area between the thighs and chest where you have the most control over lifting an object. And don’t forget to lift with the knees!

Don’t get burned

12,000 – That’s the number of burn-related injuries that occur in a restaurant kitchen on a yearly basis. A kitchen can be the most dangerous place to be in a restaurant. Commercial grills, deep fryers, broilers and steam kettles are among the many hazards that lurk in every direction. Plus, most restaurant kitchens are laid out as galleys, which mean cramped, narrow spaces to work.

Put into place strict rules of who should be in the kitchen and allow only trained employees with proper protective gear to operate equipment. Clearly post all procedures specific to the equipment in use and install splashguards around all hot surfaces. These rules sound simple enough, but remember, more than 12,000 restaurant employees end up suffering burns each year.

Watch your step

Slips, trips and falls are the most common restaurant hazards. A busy waiting staff can lose their balance while not paying attention to the carpet strip. Blind spots and walking around corners with a serving plate can spell trouble. And, we can’t forget about the most hazardous spot; the single door leading to and from the kitchen.

Keep floors dry and uncluttered, and have non-slip floor mats in areas known for getting wet. When the floors are cleaned, it’s best to use floor cleaning products with grease-removal properties and are slip-resistance. Make sure all freeze doors and ice machines are sealed to prevent water from leaking on the floor.

What is the best approach to effectively promote and carry out restaurant safety? A restaurant checklist. This piece of literature is an essential guide focused on standard safety actions and processes for your staff. It ensures safety protocols are being followed year round, and not just when the inspector shows up.

Download Restaurant Safety Checklist