Each year, more than 3 million foodservice employees are injured from slip-and-fall accidents, primarily in the back of the house. Here are five simple steps that can be taken to help reduce the risk.
Restaurants and other dining areas are a minefield for slip-and-fall accidents, and most of these occur in the “back of the house,” or the kitchen area. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, each year more than 3 million foodservice employees are injured as a result of slip-and-fall accidents. It is estimated that these accidents contribute to a cost to the foodservice industry of more than $2 billion each year, and that this number has been rising by 10 percent every year. (Note: These latter figures include costs involving accidents to restaurant/dining area patrons as well).
Matt Morrison, Marketing Manager for Kaivac, a Hamilton, Ohio-based supplier of cleaning systems, says there are five simple steps that operators of dining areas can take to help reduce these numbers and begin to reverse this costly and dangerous trend:
- Communicate. “Safety and the problem of slip-and-fall accidents does not get the attention it needs,” says Morrison. “As soon as possible, have a safety meeting with staff and discuss how serious the slip-and-fall problem is in restaurants.”
- Conduct a safety audit. A safety audit looks for potential hazards that can contribute to slip-and-fall accidents. Are there areas of the floor that have more grease and oil buildup than others? Are there loose cords or mats that tend to curl? Are there areas where the floor is uneven? These can all cause slips and falls.
- Analyze systems used to clean the floor. “To save water, more restaurants are mopping floors instead of hosing them down,” says Morrison. “But studies going back more than 40 years indicate that mopping spreads soils and contaminants [and can] leave a film that can cause an accident. Look into water-saving floor cleaning options that do not require the use of mops.”
- Ask for feedback. The people that know your kitchen floor best are the ones standing on it every day. Ask them for suggestions on how to make the floor safer.
- Install drip-through matting. Drip-through mats allow grease and oil to drip below the walkway surface, helping to promote safety.