Kitchen Safety in Restaurants

Kitchen Safety in Restaurants

Kitchen safety is not something that gets a lot of attention. It’s more common to hear about the fast paced environment of a restaurant kitchen and how it can be exciting and exhilarating. However, a restaurant kitchen can be a dangerous environment. Between rushed orders, hot equipment, greasy floors and sharp knives, even a minor oversight can lead to a serious injury. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2022 alone over 60,000 non-fatal workplace injuries were reported in the food service industry, with kitchens being a major hotspot for these incidents.

So how do you keep your staff safe and healthy in your restaurant? The answer lies in prioritizing kitchen safety and making it an ongoing effort. This starts with comprehensive training, especially for new hires.

From Kitchen Hazards to Kitchen Safety

Let’s go over some of the most common hazards found in restaurant kitchens and how to mitigate them.

HazardWhy It’s DangerousPrevention
BurnsFrom open flames and sizzling hot oil to hot pots and pans, burns are a leading cause of injuries in restaurant kitchens.Always use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) like oven mitts and heat-resistant gloves. Keep a fire extinguisher readily available and train staff on its proper use.
CutsKitchens are full of sharp objects like knives, slicers, and graters. A single slip can lead to a nasty cut.Ensure all staff are trained on the safe handling of knives and other cutting tools. Keep knives shar – dull blades require more force to cut and are more likely to slip.
Slips and FallsSpills and grease on the floor can create a treacherous landscape.Clean spills immediately and use slip-resistant mats in high traffic areas. Ensure staff wear non-slip, closed-toe shoes.
Lifting InjuriesHeavy pots, full trays, and large boxes of ingredients can lead to back and muscle strain.Train staff on proper lifting techniques and encourage them to seek help when moving heavy objects.
Training staff on Kitchen Safety is important

The Best Way to Address Kitchen Safety

As you can probably guess from the repeated use of the word “train” in the prevention section above, employee training is the best way to address safety. And in order to establish a culture of safety in your kitchen, it starts from day one with new employee orientation. New employee orientation training should go beyond boring presentations and completing paperwork. This training builds a foundational understanding of the safe practices expected in your kitchen that you then build on with ongoing employee training and development. Some of the things you can include in your new employee orientation training to establish a strong foundation include:

  • Kitchen Layout and Equipment Review. Familiarize new hires with the layout of your kitchen, the location of fire extinguishers and first aid kits, and the safe use and handling of all equipment they will be using. If all staff are not properly trained on the use of fire extinguishers, make sure it is clear who is.
  • Safe Food Handling. Foodborne illnesses are a serious concern. Train staff from day one on proper food storage, preparation, and hygiene techniques to prevent contamination.
  • Safe Knife Handling. Knives are a constant in restaurant kitchens. Train your staff on how to handle them safely, including use, cleaning, and storage.
  • Personal Protective Equipment. Make sure your staff knows what PPE is available in your kitchen, when they are expected to use it, as well as how to maintain and properly dispose of it. This is also the time to describe any reimbursement available for the purchase of PPE, such as slip-resistant footwear.
  • Emergency Procedures. Ensure your staff knows what to do in care of a fire, electrical issue, medical emergency, or inclement weather. In addition, as much as we don’t want to discuss things like this, it is not uncommon nowadays for companies to train new hires on events like an active shooter or bomb threat.

Your Partner in Kitchen Safety Training

At Paradise Business Solutions, we understand the unique needs of the restaurant industry, and that each restaurant has its own way of doing things. That’s why we offer customized training solutions to help you create a safe and efficient kitchen environment. We work closely with you to develop engaging and informative training videos tailored to your specific restaurant environment, including your layout, equipment, and procedures.

By prioritizing training and creating a safety-conscious culture, you can keep your kitchen staff safe, reduce downtime due to injuries, and ensure a more productive and positive work environment. Contact us to discuss how we can help you create a custom training program that puts kitchen safety first!

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