Restaurant Safety: Beyond Food Handling and Preparation
Chefs and cooks are often monitored for safety procedures within restaurants, from their own safety with knives to the food safety of customers. However, many other food service workers should maintain their own safety procedures to ensure safety for themselves, their co-workers, and their customers. Sharing the following tips can assist your restaurant employees in maintaining safety:
- Mop up spills and mark them with a sign. In a busy restaurant, anyone can slip on a slippery floor, so to make sure wait staff, busboys, and customers are safe, mop up spills immediately.
- Slow down. Rushing too quickly to wait on customers can cause accidents. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and do not cause an accident by being too hurried and/or frantic.
- Use mirrors and windows available to you before entering the kitchen swinging doors. If you do not have mirrors or windows, develop a system in which all employees call out “Coming in” or “Going out” before entering and exiting the kitchen.
- Use trays, hotplates, oven mitts, and/or dry towels to handle hot plates. Also, warn customers that the plate you are presenting is hot.
- Do not use equipment you are not approved to use. This includes compactors, meat grinders, meat slicers, and any other kitchen equipment that you are not of age to use, approved to use, or hired to use.
- Lift properly. Lift only what you can comfortably carry. Get help lifting large trays and bins if needed or make multiple small trips. Lift with your legs, and carry the load at waist level.
- Dispose of glass properly. Clean up broken glass with a broom or towel. Do not directly clean broken glass with your hand. Dispose of glass in the proper broken glass tub.
- Treat coffee and hot liquids with care. Never take coffee carafes from the machine before it is finished percolating unless the system is designed to stop the drip when the carafe is removed. Hold the carafe close to your body, with both hands and an oven mitt, when possible.
- Wearing compression tights can assist
- Keep the customer close. Serve as close to your customer as possible. Do not lean over tables to serve because leaning can increase your possibility of injury.
- Pamper your body. You are on your feet almost your entire shift. Making sure you change your tasks and movements can reduce some of the strain your body goes through in restaurant service. Also, taking frequent breaks, like one minute breaks every 20 minutes as well as your allotted breaks, will also help reduce the strain.
- Wash your hands often, especially after smoking, eating, restroom breaks, coughing, or sneezing.
- Call in sick. If you are sick, call in. Not only will you be off your game if you show up to work sick, but you could pass your illness on to someone else.
As anyone in the restaurant business knows, waiting and bussing tables is very hard work and can be dangerous. Making sure your employees abide by the tips above can help keep everyone healthy, happy, and accident free.