When it comes to workplace safety, both employers and employees have a responsibility to themselves and each other to be as considerate and mindful as possible to prevent injury. Accidents in the workplace are all too common, and most of them can be avoided. The most common work injuries in the catering industry include burns from hot food, plates, or equipment, lacerations from misuse of knives or other cutlery, sprains or strains from improper heavy lifting, and the most frequent cause of injury being trips, slips, and falls. Luckily, with a bit of precaution and risk assessment, these hazards can be easily avoided.
Firstly, using oven mitts makes a world of difference when dealing with hot objects such as plates, pots and pans, steamers and ovens. Make sure to have a safety procedure when working with an oven that reminds staff to step to the side when opening the door so as to avoid any burn from the emission of heat. Likewise, anyone handling knives needs to be fully trained in knife safety and maintenance, such as using the proper knife for the task, keeping the knife sharp and clean, always cutting on a stable surface, and properly putting the knife away when finished.
Doing heavy lifting, whether it be a loaded tray, storage boxes or tables and chairs, should be handled properly to prevent strain. Simple demonstrations for new employees (and a refresher for current employees!) on how to lift properly can be done in a quick session, and help to prevent future injury.
Last, but certainly not least, is to prevent situations for slips, trips and falls. So many times an injury from a fall could have been avoided with a bit of precaution. Spills, trip hazards or floors in poor condition can all be addressed to help avoid accidents in the workplace. Always make sure that food or drink spills are cleaned right away and, if the floor is still wet, either dry it with a towel or put a warning up so people are aware. Keep paths clear of all trip hazards – make sure cables are taped down, avoid stacking boxes or bags in places where they stick out, and keep your workplace organised. Inspect any area where there is high traffic of staff for any hazards, whether an uneven floor, ice or uneven ground outdoors, protruding obstacles, precarious steps, or any other potential hazard and fix what can be fixed. For anything that cannot be attended to, be sure to inform staff of the situation so everyone can be prepared.
Accidents in the workplace are often those that can be prevented, so the time and effort to address them is time and effort well spent. Check out Creative Learning Solution’s range of Health and Safety online courses.