Maintaining the safety of your restaurant staff and customers is paramount. Between slips, falls, and the numerous hazards just in the kitchen alone, improving the safety within your establishment should be top of mind.
Here are five tips to create a safer restaurant environment.
1. Establish an Efficient Kitchen Workflow.
Just like at home, the restaurant kitchen is the heart of the operation. With lots of bodies in a relatively small space, the opportunity for injury increases substantially. Ensuring your kitchen design follows a linear flow can help minimize everything from potential cross-contamination to trips and falls due to employees' additional (and unnecessary) movements. Under-counter coolers placed strategically throughout the kitchen line can prevent cross-traffic in the kitchen as well as decrease the number of trips required to the walk-in refrigerator or freezer.
2. Integrate Ergonomics.
Restaurant workers are on their feet, hustling and bustling for long stretches at a time. Bending, lifting, and reaching across tables, bars, and countertops are common, repetitive movements too. So an ergonomically-friendly workplace can be a lifesaver. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were more than 78,000 musculoskeletal injuries for food service workers reported in 2015, resulting in a median number of six days away from work for each incident. Sprains, strains, and tears were some of the most frequent injuries.
Incorporating items such as anti-fatigue and anti-slip mats can help with back strain and falls. Providing sit-stand stools allow employees to choose a position that is comfortable for them and relieve stress on the back and knees at the same time. Arranging employees' workstations wisely, such that the heavier and more often used items are placed within arm's reach and the lighter or lesser used items are moved farther away, can ease stress and strain also. And encouraging employee job rotation can assist in alleviating some of the repetitiveness that may be associated with a particular position.
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