Food handling is a line of work that seems to be overlooked in terms of safety. But food service employees have risks in their jobs just like every other job and are no less important. Knowing what the hazards of working in food services, such as in restaurants are, and how to prevent these hazards is something every employee should know.
Some of the most common hazards of working in a kitchen include:
Falls from slipping on wet, greasy floors
- Tripping over clutter
- Burns from steam and hot surfaces
- Back injuries from lifting cartons or bulk food items
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Electrical shock from faulty equipment
- Kitchen fires
It is important to know what can be done to prevent these types of injuries from occurring in the first place. There are numerous things to be done in each workstation to be safe.
- Dress for the job with safety in mind. When needed wear additional protective equipment such as gloves, aprons, and even safety glasses for cleaning.
- Choose low-heeled, secure shoes with a non-skid sole and enclosed toe
- Talk to a supervisor about fire-resistant clothing, if needed
- Keep kitchen cutting tools sharp and in good condition
- Store knives on overhead magnetic strips as opposed to loosely in drawers
- When lifting, avoid twisting or bending the back. Get help with heavy loads.
- Any areas that may be exposed to moisture should have GFCI electrical outlets. Test outlets regularly to ensure they are working properly.
- Ensure everyone has been trained on fire safety and knows how to respond to a fire (specifically one caused by grease).