Since 1992, Beacon Mutual has helped Rhode Island restaurants open doors, reduce costs, and retain employees through our proactive workers’ compensation strategies.
According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than 2,900 restaurants and food service locations, employing over 57,600 people in Rhode Island in 2019. Restaurants are a driving force in the Rhode Island economy but there are many safety risks present including sharp equipment, tight spaces, harsh cleaning chemicals, open flames, hot surfaces and hot liquids. It is important to be aware of these hazards to keep your employees and your customers safe. Every restaurant's safety program should include training for employees on procedures to prevent common restaurant injuries like slips and falls, lacerations, burns, strains and sprains from handling materials. Restaurants should also practice fire safety by installing the proper equipment, training employees and implementing fire safety procedures.
Beacon offers FREE safety resources for restaurants and hospitality professionals. Visit our Safety Library to download materials including:
Protect yourself and employees by following food service safety tips and regulations.
1. Slips and Falls
- Keep floors clean and dry. In addition to being a slip hazard, continually wet surfaces promote the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria, which can cause infections.
- Clean up spills immediately. This includes water, grease, food and oil.
- Provide warning signs on wet floors.
- Wear proper footwear to include slip resistant soles.
- Use matting in kitchen areas to avoid slip and falls.
- Ensure drainage is sufficient and working properly in dish washing areas.
- Keep knives sharpened. Many incidents occur because of dull blade causes an employee to press down too hard and lose control of the knife.
- Follow proper knife cutting procedures and use the appropriate knife for the job.
- Do not store knives in drawers, in sinks or on counters when not in use.
- Use only approved knife storage devices. Magnetic wall strips and enclosed knife storage devices are approved for these purposes. Download our Knife Safety Booklet and Slicer Safety Booklet.
- Be aware of hot surfaces.
- Use pot holders and oven mitts to provide protection to anyone working around hot equipment or food.
- Let oil cool overnight or test with a long stem thermometer to ensure a safe transporting temperature is present. OSHA recommends transporting temperatures should not exceed 110 degrees.
4. Life Safety
- An emergency evacuation plan should be developed and all employees trained. The “Manager on Duty” (MOD) should know who is working and have a list of employees working in the facility each day.
- In the event of a fire or other emergency, a meeting place or places should be assigned away from the front of the building and away from fire equipment.
- The MOD should ensure that all employees have been accounted for and are safely outside the building. All employees should be trained for evacuation.
5. Sprains & Strains
- Encourage employees to ask for help with heavy lifts or heavy objects.
- Order materials in smaller more manageable sizes.
- Provide and use hand trucks or carts to move materials.
- Store lighter items on higher shelf levels and heavier materials at waist level shelves so that employees do not have to reach or bend over.
- Download Beacon's Lifting Techniques Poster with instructions for proper stretching, lifting, and handling of materials.
6. Fire Safety
- Keep flammable objects away from flames. Do not store dish towels near your cooking equipment. Employees should not be 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. Commercial kitchens are often the site of high-volume cooking activities that produce large amounts of grease and oil. A “class K” fire extinguisher is necessary to effectively suppress these fires.
- Know how to use all types of fire extinguishers and provide fire extinguisher training.
- Know the location of all power sources which may need to be turned off in case of emergency.
- Every employer should have and maintain an emergency action plan, fire prevention plan and train employees accordingly.