When you think about the most dangerous places to work at, a restaurant rarely crosses anybody’s mind.
However, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women sustain most of their workplace injuries in restaurants and cafes. The numbers show that out of 1,000 women working in such places, 98 sustain an injury of some sort.
As an employer, you are responsible for the safety of your employees. While you cannot prevent every single injury in a restaurant kitchen, it is important that you keep doing your best.
Moreover, it is up to you to offer workplace first aid kits and quick and efficient solutions in case of injury.
You already know what the legal requirements are when it comes to workplace safety, but here are another five things you can do in your restaurant to make sure injuries are not a common occurrence in your kitchen.
Organise Your Restaurant Kitchen to Ensure Free Passage
Good kitchen organisation is golden. You need to make sure you have a designer who understands the challenges and the workflow of the restaurant kitchen. This is very important as bad kitchen organisation can increase the number of work injuries, but also slow down work. Slow work means less productivity and that decreases your profits.
For example, it is not a good idea to put fryers near sinks or at the very entrance to the kitchen. Water from the sink can easily get into the hot oil from the fryers and that can cause burns and scalds.
Secondly, if the fryer is at the entrance of the kitchen or near heavy traffic areas, the chances of people getting hurt increases.
Similar rules go for the washing area in the kitchen. It should be separate from the food preparation area. Washing dishes means that there can be a lot of water on the floor from time to time. This increases the risks of slips and falls in the kitchen. Therefore, the food preparation area and the washing area should be separate.
It is important that your restaurant kitchen be organised in a way that requires minimum movement around the kitchen. The bulk food storage should be next to the food preparation area, which should be next to the stoves.
Everything a person who prepares the food needs should be a step or two away from them. If restaurant staff need to walk across the kitchen all the time, the risk of different injuries increases.
Make OHS First Aid Supplies Available
Australian first aid kits and their contents are recommended by the WHS/OH&S acts, regulations and codes of practice. You need a strategically positioned first aid kit in every restaurant kitchen. The most common injuries that occur in a kitchen are:
- Cuts and skin punctures
- Scalds and burns
- Slips and falls
For these to be treated, you need easily reachable first aid kits, packed with appropriate first aid supplies. Here are the recommended items that should be in your first aid kit:
- Contact information of first aiders and first aid guide
- Dressings, regular and adhesive
- Bandages, regular and stretch
- Eye pads
- Saline solution
- Clasps and safety pins
There are no specific items that first aid kits in Australia must contain, but these are the recommended items that should be handy as they allow your employees to quickly disinfect, dress and sanitise any wound.
Ensure Staff have Protective Workwear
Ask anybody to imagine a professional kitchen and they will describe staff wearing chef hats, pants and jackets and they will most likely mention aprons. While being the trademark of any kitchen, restaurant kitchen workwear also has a protective function, especially the aprons.
The first function of restaurant kitchen workwear is to protect your kitchen staffs’ clothing. The uniforms have been designed to ensure that they can be removed quickly and washed thoroughly. They also offer an extra layer of protection between your skin and harmful elements such as hot oil or fire.
Prevent Slips and Trips
When you think about how a person might get hurt in a kitchen, cuts and scalds are the first things that come to mind. However, it is time to lower your eyes to the floor and take a close look.
If you are in a hurry, it is quite easy to trip or slip while trying to get that order out in time. Specialised wet area mats can prevent slips almost entirely.
A number of injuries can be prevented by good kitchen organisation. More can be prevented by using appropriate wet area mats that reduce slippery surfaces in the kitchen.
Hire Enough Staff for Your Kitchen
Tired and overworked kitchen staff will make more mistakes. They will be clumsier and they will hurt themselves and others more easily.
For example, a person who has to run around the kitchen for the entire shift and then quickly dice some tomatoes is more likely to cut themselves than someone who has the time to take it easy.
If you think you can save money by hiring less people, think twice. Kitchen staff are usually skilled and know their way around a kitchen. If they get hurt, replacing them means training new staff, paying for sick leave, which slows down your entire operation.
Accidents in the kitchen are not only dangerous for the person who was injured. There is also the issue of contaminating the food and jeopardising the sanitary conditions of the kitchen. That is an additional reason why you need fully stocked first aid kits in your restaurant kitchen.
You don’t have to buy them. You can simply rent them from Alsco Australia and enjoy all the benefits of our rental program. If you rent our first aid kits, you will get:
- Expert advice about where to place them and how
- Expert advice about the contents and the number of first aid kits
- Regular checking and restocking of your first aid supplies included in your fee
- Fully stocked first aid kits without capital investment
Contact Alsco Australia and get the best deal possible for your restaurant. This investment will pay off in terms of staff safety and increased productivity.