When it comes to the restaurant industry, no matter how careful you are, accidents do happen. And even if you are covered with the right policy, such as Workers Compensation insurance, mishaps as well as liabilities will still cost you huge amounts of money. Add up the repercussion of legal claims, scenarios like this taint the reputation of your business which could lead to diminishing trust and deteriorating customer engagement.
Regardless of restaurant size, classification, and the number of people, it is important to avoid, if not totally eradicate workplace injury. Aside from the fact that it keeps employees safe all the time, minimizing Workers Compensation claims helps lower operational costs by reducing insurance premiums. Although impossible to eliminate, there are proper measures you can take to prevent accidents from happening and maintain a healthy work environment.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than pounds of cure. Check out these tips on how to reduce workers compensation claims.
Being the restaurant owner, you have a big responsibility to maintain safety at work. Your job is to make sure that everything is free of serious hazards that could hurt you, your people, and your customers. To ensure that the workplace is safe, do a routine examination following the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. Make sure that you comply with all requirements and include a safety program on your training.
Provide proper tools and equipment for your employees including anti-skid mats, good quality knives, durable cookware, and premium kitchen kits. Also, inspect your workplace as it should be free from imminent dangers such as broken glass, chipped ceramics, damaged kitchenware, etc.
- Make sure that you have a complete set of a first aid kit that is easily accessible.
- Clearly label generic bottles, containers, and storage boxes with proper contents.
- Update your safety training and reiterate the latest protocols as well as revised practices.
Although it is your responsibility to uphold the culture of safety, you can’t check everything all the time. As a busy restaurant owner, you have many things to do other than keeping an eye on your employees. After you have established the basis of a safe work environment, it is your employee’s obligation to use and follow it properly. Keep in mind that promoting safety is a two-way responsibility and not just a one-way duty.
For example, tools and equipment should be properly maintained in order to avoid glitches. The workplace should be free from risky conditions that might cause injuries such as unattended knives, uncleaned spills, dangling cords, and unorganized kitchen utilities. Managers and supervisors should also be aware of risk management solutions to steer clear from accidents.
- Make wearing safety gears mandatory; gloves, apron, protective hats, etc.
- Instruct employees to report hazardous conditions as soon as possible.
- Orient staff about the importance of documenting and recording accidents.
Moreover, what you need to consider on how to reduce workers compensation claims is the importance of handling common restaurant accidents, to one of which is burn injuries. Compared to other industries, those working in the food business are the ones most likely subjected to burn injuries. The close proximity to ovens, frequent interaction with gas stoves, constant use of fryers, and food preparation involving hot water makes them highly susceptible to burns.
If there is an injured employee, do not touch the burned part and rinse the affected area under cool running water. Don’t put toothpaste or other creams that are not meant for burns. Cover the affected part with a loose bandage and seek proper medical attention. Always maintain safety procedures especially in the kitchen such as:
- Avoid overcrowding the cooking area particularly stoves and range tops.
- Do not use loose clothing when working with fire, fryers, and cooking equipment.
- Make sure that pot handles are always positioned away from burners.
Cuts and lacerations
Since restaurant employees constantly use sharp objects such as knives, peelers, meat slicers, and scissors, they are prone to cuts and lacerations. To prevent cuts and lacerations, make sure that employees are well trained when it comes to using sharp kitchen objects. They should be able to use kitchen tools correctly, clean the equipment before and after each use, and handle knives with paramount safety.
Buying high-quality knives and cutting equipment may incur indirect costs but in the long run, the premium quality will give you total peace of mind. Additionally, check your first aid kit to be sure it has an ample supply of bandages, healing creams, ointments, and blood stoppers.
- Always use the right knife specification for each job, mind the size and form factor.
- Place non-slip pads or damp cloth under cutting boards to prevent it from sliding.
- Maintain the sharpness of knives; the sharper it is, the less likely you’ll acquire an injury.
Slips, trips, and falls
Last on the tips of how to reduce workers compensation claims is the leading cause of workplace injuries – slips, trips, and falls. Bear in mind that a busy kitchen with constant foot traffic creates a disaster for an accident. The grease buildup on the floor, leaking dishwasher, spills in the sink, uncleaned food debris, and improperly draining refrigerators may all lead to slips and falls. To reduce your Workers Compensation premium, you need to address these problems immediately.
In a bustling kitchen, make sure that there is a mop readily available to clean spills. Together with rugs and other highly absorbent cleaning materials, place them in a visible area. Keep your kitchen organized; the walkway and counters should be free from obstructions like buckets, food containers, and serving trays. Placing anti-skid mats next to the sink, dishwashing area and entrance help prevent slips, trips, and falls from happening.
- Place warning signs and let people know if there is a slipping hazard identified.
- Don’t leave open containers and invest in good quality rubber stoppers to prevent leaks.
- Maintain an utmost safe and healthy workplace by cleaning spills and debris immediately.