Our Top 4 Safety Tips for Restaurant Employees

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Michelle Locke

October is officially here and it’s time to kick off our month dedicated to safety. We’ll be covering everything from safety for your employees to alcohol safety, as well as all your liability concerns, how to train your employees on safety, and how to deal with aggressive guests.

To kick off the month, we want to share our top 4 safety tips for your employees. These tips are all about keeping them safe and healthy in their workplace, but especially in the back of house. It’s easy to forget, when working in a kitchen is second nature, that operating appliances, handling tons of ingredients, and always being busy can be a recipe for disaster.

These 4 safety tips should be part of your existing training—but if you feel your employees need a refresher, they’re easy to add to any pre-shift meeting.

1. Follow operation instructions on equipment.

Large equipment, like meat slicers, grinders, mixers, and more, can be dangerous. Even fryers have the possibility of causing serious burns if employees don’t operate, or clean them, correctly. If you don’t have a resource for equipment cleaning and operation instructions available to your employees, do so immediately; this might be a binder or a training course on Waitrainer+. Either way, they should be able to access it at all times to ensure they know what to do.

( Click here to read about how to handle allergies in your restaurant.)

2. Clean up spills to prevent falls.

Falling in the kitchen, or even in the expo area, can be extremely dangerous. Dripping water from a towel or slopping a little soup out of a dish can lead to any number of injuries—and it’s easy to think that a few drops of water or soup aren’t that unsafe. But they are. All spills need to be pointed out immediately and then cleaned as soon as employees can.

( Click here to read 4 alcohol safety facts.)

3. Practice proper lifting.

Have you ever thrown your back out lifting something heavy the wrong way? I have. Even though I had been reminded over and over, I’d never actually understood what proper lifting was. This is why training videos are important. You can add any training videos to your training program (and if you use Waitrainer+, it’s super easy); my favorite lifting video is this one, but there are tons for free on YouTube. A hugely valuable video that will prevent all kinds of injuries in the back of house.

( Click here to read about making food safety a priority.)

4. Pay attention to emergency plans.

Do you have an emergency plan for your restaurant? Say there is a fire, or a natural disaster (an earthquake or sudden storm that knocks out the power). Or say there is a major event that requires evacuation. These sound like impossible things, but the truth is: you never know. You should have an emergency plan for every scenario in your restaurant and your employees should be well-versed in them, because it ensures that even in adverse situations, they will remain safe (and help others remain safe).