Slips and Trips in the Restaurant Trade
Visit a restaurant for a gourmet meal and you’ll appreciate the food, the atmosphere, and – hopefully – the service. But behind the scenes, spare a thought for those who worked to put your meal on the table. Every year there are hundreds of major accidents reported in the catering and hospitality sector. Perhaps surprisingly, slips and trips remain the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces. The occupations most affected are kitchen assistants, chefs and waiting staff.
You would expect any new member of staff in any industry to receive health and safety and fire safety training on their induction, but because of the nature of the work in restaurant kitchens, there needs to be a particular emphasis on certain aspects of health and safety. The effectiveness of training can be compounded by the sometimes high turnover of staff in this industry.
A Food Course may tell chefs and kitchen assistants all they need to know about the right way to cook Steak Diane or the Heston Blumenthal equivalent, but are unlikely to underline the fact that spills from food or cooking are the main causes of slips in kitchens. Staff must be trained to be vigilant and clean up any spilled substance that could cause a hazard. This includes water from an overflowing sink or a leak that causes water to drip onto the floor, especially a smooth floor. Sometimes, given the fast pace of kitchen duties, this may be easier said then done, but managers must lead by example.
Another common cause of accidents in restaurants is obstacles on the floor. An unexpected obstacle is a particular problem to staff who are carrying dishes or drinks on trays, as they are less likely to see it. This goes for diners too – spare a thought for your waiting staff and keep your oversized designer bag out of the way!