Restaurant Safety TipsLast updated on 8/6/2018
With sharp equipment, open flames, and tight spaces, there are many safety risks present in a restaurant. To keep your establishment safe for employees as well as customers, it's important to be aware of these hazards and minimize them as much as possible. Keep reading for our guidelines on how to train your employees, operate equipment, and prevent fires and common injuries to ensure that your restaurant operates safely for everyone.Shop All Safety and Security Products
1. Train Your Employees in Restaurant Safety Procedures
To maintain a safe working environment, staff members must follow 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.
Try to customize their training to processes used in your unique kitchen, and consider encouraging your employees to acquire ServSafe certification from the National Restaurant Association. This restaurant safety training program teaches your employees basic food safety and sanitation practices, including handling allergens and preventing cross-contamination.
2. Operate Restaurant Equipment Safely
A key part of training your employees is showing them how to use your kitchen equipment properly. Refer to the following checklist to ensure that misused or faulty equipment doesn’t cause an emergency in your kitchen.
- Use equipment properly. All pieces of equipment should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Avoid electrical hazards. Keep electrical appliances away from wet areas, and check their cords for damage regularly. If there are cracks, frays, or other signs of damage, stop using the appliance immediately until you can replace its cord.
- Prevent appliance failure. Have your appliances regularly inspected by a professional. Do not attempt to repair broken appliances by yourself.
3. Practice Restaurant Fire Safety
According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, roughly 5,600 restaurant fires are reported each year, with cooking as the leading cause of incidents. Making sure that kitchen staff members are alert and attentive to cooking dishes is the simplest way to prevent fires in your establishment.
However, there are other important measures to take when it comes to restaurant fire safety. Here are some steps you can take toward preventing fires in your kitchen.
Install Fire Safety Equipment
- Have multiple fire extinguishers in your establishment, and do not put them only in your kitchen.
- Install emergency lights and exit signs throughout your space.
- Look into appliances with fire suppression systems. When activated, these units can switch off your fuel supply and dispense substances that help to put out flames. Some units release these chemicals automatically and others have manual switches.
Implement Fire Safety Procedures
- Keep flammable objects away from flames. Do not store dish towels near your cooking equipment, and be sure that your employees are not wearing baggy clothing that could catch fire.
- Know how to put out a grease fire. Do not use water to put out a grease fire. Instead, cover the flames with a metal lid and turn off the heat source. Use a fire extinguisher if the fire persists.
- Know how to use a fire extinguisher. Ensure that each of your employees knows how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Additionally, always replace your extinguisher when it is low on fuel.
- Have an evacuation plan. Keep this plan posted somewhere where everyone can see it.
- Know how to switch off your power sources. Teach your staff members how to turn off gas and/or electrical power in the case of an emergency.
4. Prevent Common Restaurant Injuries
With the proper restaurant safety rules in place, many of the most common on-the-job injuries can be avoided. Keep reading to find out which injuries happen most often and how to prevent them.
Lacerations and Punctures
With knives, slicers, and the occasional broken glass, restaurant employees are at risk for cuts constantly. To prevent these injuries, your staff members should transport knives carefully around your kitchen space and pay attention to their cutting tasks, so they don't injure themselves or others. You can also provide your employees with cut-resistant gloves for extra hand safety. Broken glass should always be handled with a broom and protective gloves.
Your employees can easily get burned, even without a serious kitchen fire. Staff members should always wear oven mitts or use potholders to handle heated cookware.
Sprains and Strains
Your busy commercial kitchen can get crowded during meal services. Even if space is at a premium, it is important to keep commonly used items in easy-to-reach places. Repeated bending and twisting is not good for joints, so try to keep many of your tools at arm's length or close to it. Additionally, you should educate your employees on safe lifting techniques to avoid back injury when moving equipment or bulk ingredients.
Spills can also put your staff members and customers at risk for injury. Make sure that all spills are attended to as soon as possible and mark wet floors in all areas of your establishment.
During cooking or cleaning, staff members' eyes are vulnerable to splashes of grease, sanitizing chemicals, and ingredients. Employees should exercise caution when cleaning their workspace or front-of-house areas and wear protective safety glasses when warewashing or cleaning up broken glass.
5. Provide Your Employees with Safety Equipment
While training and preparation are important for restaurant safety, some tasks are best performed with protective equipment. Consider providing these items to your staff to keep them safe in your kitchen.
A busy kitchen presents many hazards, but you can keep your staff members safe if you take caution while cooking, cleaning, and using equipment. When accidents do happen, have a fully stocked emergency supplies kit with first aid or call the appropriate emergency number. Practicing restaurant kitchen safety procedures protects your employees and keeps your establishment efficient and operational.