health protection, safety and pandemic concept - male chef cook wearing face protective medical mask over restaurant kitchen background

Restaurant Staff Safety and Awareness

Complacency is the dangerous word when we discuss SAFETY! It becomes such a front-of-mind daily routine task, a block ticking exercise that the importance of the exercise is missed completely. 

Health and Safety are important because it protects the well being of employers, visitors, and customers. Looking after Health and Safety makes good business sense. Workplaces that neglect health and safety risk prosecution, may lose staff and may increase costs, and reduce profitability.

  • Manage hair and tie long hair away.
  • Sneeze in your elbow.
  • Wear a clean uniform every day. No personal clothing is to be worn visibly under your uniform.
  • Nails must be trimmed and clean, without nail polish. It is not permitted to wear jewellery (rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings), wristwatches, etc. Wash their hands often.
  • Hairnets and hats must be put on before entering the kitchen. On food processing jobs and or dishwashing jobs, protective aprons must be worn.
  • Injuries (cuts, wounds) must be properly protected and covered by water-resistant bandages and gloves.
  • Smoking is forbidden in the kitchen and adjacent areas.
  • Staff must not eat while working in the kitchen and adjacent areas. They should have proper breaks to rest and recover after a long shift.
  • Don’t fool around. “Horseplay” is one of the biggest causes of injuries on the job and it may be grounds for dismissal.
  • Meet your team individually when they arrive for work and evaluate who is in good “space”, and who might be having a difficult day. Check for people who look like they might be ill, people that do not look you in the eye when they are spoken to. Never work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or allow someone to work as they are a hazard to yourself and your co-workers.
  • Plan heavy lifting and use your good body posture before staining yourself. Avoid back strain especially by lifting properly.
  • Walk, and announce when you are moving from one point to another. Do not run. People who rush around in the kitchen tend to take chances that increase the likelihood of an accident.
  • Be mindful while at work. People who let their attention wander are a hazard to themselves and others around them. 
  • Poor attention, lack of interest, personal problems, and distraction by others can all lead to serious accidents in the kitchen.
  • Mesh gloves should be used when cleaning the meat slicer. Thick plastic, gloves should be used when handling cleaning products.
  • Eye protection, safety goggles, or masks should be worn whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Particles flying through the air can easily land in your eye and possibly do permanent damage.
  • Proper training prevents poor performance, ensure the correct operating procedures, and safety precautions are practised before operating equipment.
  • Ensure that all guards are in place and serviceable before any machine is started.
  • Always report defective or unsafe equipment to a supervisor or management to prevent serious injury.
  • Do not distract or interfere with the equipment operators while they are busy.
  • Ensure that the cords to electrically powered tools are in good condition, with no frayed parts or bare wires showing, and ensure that the tools are properly grounded.
  • Keep edge-cutting tools properly sharpened so that they do the job well and do not have to be forced because of dull edges. Use tools only for their intended use.
  • Report equipment that is broken or does not function properly.
  • Even though you may normally deal with low voltages and current, the dander is never far away from lethal levels. You can receive a shock or burn from any common electrical circuit. The severity of electrical shock depends on four factors. The amount of current that passes through the body. The path that the current takes through the body. The frequency of the current. The length of time that the current flows within the body.
  • Locate the gas shutoff in the kitchen. Escaping gas can cause an explosion that could injure someone or do great damage. When the valve handle is running parallel with the gas line, the supply of gas is flowing and on. By turning the valve handle 90 degrees (that is, perpendicular to the gas line), you can shut off the gas supply. If you must shut off the gas, notify your supervisor immediately.
  • Working with sharp equipment, open flames, and tight spaces, there are many safety risks present in a restaurant.
  • In order to maintain a safe working environment, it is important that each of your staff members follows safety procedures. 
  • Your kitchen is only as safe as your employee who has received the least amount of training. For this reason, investing time in training your employees is one of the most effective ways to make your restaurant safe.

Operate Restaurant Equipment Safely to avoid becoming a victim of COMPLACENCY! Allow different people to do the safety checks, a new pair of eyes to evaluate standards. Mix up the routine and start the check from a different place in your store, do the check-in reverse on certain days.

Implement a feedback and follow-up system to follow up on all the tasks that originate from the safety check.

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

Founder of the first true community for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top