Wednesday September 17 , 2014

Keeping Restaurants Safe

Safety In RestaurantsThe customers were lined up as the lunch rush was in full swing.  Beads of sweat formed on his brow as he struggled to keep up with the food orders in the kitchen.  In haste, a dollop of sour cream splashed on the kitchen floor tile on the common pathway.  Another employee carrying supplies to her work station, doesn’t see the hazard, slips and falls on the kitchen floor.  One of two scenarios takes place.

Scene 1 - The employee gets up and brushes off her clothing.  Slightly embarrassed, she returns to her work station.  She was lucky that she fell but did not get hurt.  The incident is not reported, investigated, nor analyzed.  No steps are taken to insure that no one falls from the same mess on the floor.  You are lucky that that she is still a productive member of today’s crew and the incident did not cost you in time, lost sales, productivity or profitability.

Scene 2 – The employee severely twisted her knee in the fall.  Ligaments snap; bones break.  She lands awkwardly and bangs her head on the tile floor.  She fractures her skull and is rendered unconscious.  Other employees rush to her aid.  Productivity in the kitchen comes to a halt.  Emergency services are called and the paramedics attend to her and place her in the back of the ambulance.  Flashing lights and wailing sirens accompany her ride to the hospital.  She is unlucky for obvious reasons.  You are unlucky in many ways.   She will no longer be a productive member of today’s crew, or any time in the near future.  The unfortunate incident will cost in excess of a hundred thousand dollars in medical care and extensive rehabilitation, the loss of sales, the productivity of a well trained employee and a substantial increase in your worker’s compensation premiums.

Employee Injuries:  Hidden Costs

Good or bad luck in how your employees fare in a work related accident should not be the extent of a food service safety program.   Worker’s comp claims along with customer accidents in Quick Service Restaurants tend to increase during peak times. Medical costs, higher premiums, lost time, productivity, training, lowered morale, and turnover are drains on performance and profitability of the restaurant.

Benefits of Reducing Claims

Comprehensive restaurant safety programs address how to reduce worker’s compensation claims.  By reducing the number of claims and costs paid on claims, the restaurant can reduce worker’s comp insurance premiums and increase profitability.  It works much like your personal auto insurance.  The more claims you have, the higher the premiums.  Protect yourself against worker’s comp fraud by incorporating checks and balances in your program.

Safety Program Components

There are several keys to workplace safety.  Comprehensive risk management programs focus on well trained employees working safely in a safe environment.  Training is reinforced through recognition and reward for good safety performance.   Safety tools are utilized along with established goals for accident reduction, effective performance measurements, and accountability of all employees.  All components of a strong safety program are coordinated and embedded into the culture of the restaurant.  Being lucky is associated with an employee who works in an environment where their safety and security is a priority.

Complete this free assessment quiz on your restaurant safety efforts.