Nothing can affect a restaurant owner’s business like injuries sustained on the job. Not only do slip and fall accidents leave you short of help, but you could also face litigation if the victim decides to take legal action. There are close to 16 million workplace fall injuries each year. The best way to avoid this is a four-prong attack. You need training, video surveillance, operational audits, and a daily commitment to your safety program.
Causes of Slip and Falls in the Restaurant Industry
The restaurant industry is known for its fast-paced environment, where employees are constantly in motion to meet customer needs. This bustling atmosphere can lead to accidents, particularly slip and falls, as the presence of obstacles increases the risk.
- Floor Surface: Given the frequent cleaning, the slip-resistance of floors may vary when wet or soiled. Certain hard surface floors might be slip-resistant under dry conditions but become highly slippery when liquids are spilled. It is crucial for restaurants to be aware of the slip resistance of their floors.
- Uneven Surfaces: Uneven surfaces such as steps, raised or recessed ledges, loose carpeting with raised edges, and inadequate cleanliness can create hazardous conditions for individuals.
- Obstructions: Tools, equipment, and objects left in unsafe areas pose a common risk. Cords, wires, and even wet floor signs can contribute to a hazardous walking environment.
These four methods will work together to protect your workers and your business by highlighting the importance of safety and best operational practices:
1. Educate Employees to Decrease Slip and Fall Incidents
Restaurant employees are often in a rush. They know how the velocity at which they pick up food orders from the kitchen, package up curbside orders, enter phone orders, and serve in-person guests will affect customer satisfaction. And from the restaurant’s standpoint staff are expected to perform these activities with speed and accuracy for maximum restaurant efficiency. As a result, this hurry-up mentality can cause slip and fall accidents and even serious injury to staff as well as customers.
Another cause of workplace accidents is a slippery or blocked walkway. Routine housekeeping is as important as developing a safety-first mentality and should not be overlooked. Regular cleanliness checks should be part of your staff’s daily duties. As the sports adage states: “the best offense is a good defense.” In terms of running a restaurant, training all employees upon hire and at regular intervals is your best defense against damaging slip and fall accidents sidelining your team, or injuring customers.
To start, initiate a thorough and accessible safety training plan to protect your business so employees are aware of your expectations. This preemptive measure is a great foundational strategy in preventing slip and fall accidents. If you are unsure where to begin, many companies specialize in this unique service. It is vital that employees participate in all safety training programs and acknowledge their understanding of your restaurant’s policies, usually by signing and dating a training document. This prevents any confusion or misinterpretation of your expectations.
2. Use a Managed Video Solution as a Training Aid
Most restaurants invest in a video surveillance system for site security and employee observation. This system can also easily become a training resource in reviewing employee safety regulations. Leverage integrated video surveillance to demonstrate proper safety etiquette to employees. To maximize your training costs, extract video clips of correct operational behavior. Studies show that video is a powerful learning tool. People tend to recall visual teaching aids more readily than written documentation alone. Using a managed video solution can also mitigate another point of profit loss resulting from workplace injury: lost workdays. The U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics has determined that “25% of all reported injury claims are due to slip and falls, resulting in 95 million lost workdays per year.” (Enjuris)
3. Perform Operational Audits to Test the Safety Measures in Place
Creating an engaging training plan which includes managed video will result in higher attention given to safety in the workplace and therefore decrease injury occurrences. But, how do you know if your plan is working? Perform an operational audit! Audits are the best way to determine if your injury prevention techniques are effective. Use an integrated audit program like Envysion’s operational audit to test your injury prevention plan. Designed by industry experts, restaurant-specific audits will ensure compliance with a restaurant owners’ unique operational needs. Invest in a sound audit solution so your business is protected from careless accidents and costly reparations.
4. Make Safety a Daily Conversation
Safety training and observing good hygienic practices will result in decreased rates of slip and fall incidents in your restaurant. But training is typically only performed upon hire and then on possibly an annual basis. How can you drive home the importance of safety and regular cleaning and maintenance on a more consistent basis? Simply discuss and practice the safety measures you’ve established for your restaurant. If you see a spill in the kitchen, then notify a staff member to clean it up immediately. If you witness a staff member incorrectly performing a job duty, give them feedback at that moment. Your attention to and demand of following safety protocol will demonstrate to your staff the value you’ve placed on accident prevention and overall restaurant cleanliness.
Preventing slip and fall accidents in your restaurant does not have to be a daunting task. Set a plan, use integrated video as a training tool, schedule regular operational audits, and put these guidelines into daily practice. These four steps will protect your business from accidents stemming from careless activities inattention to established safety guidelines and position your restaurant for success.