June is National Safety month, which makes this a great time to reinforce the importance of safety in the workplace. In the
restaurant industry, you are constantly moving and taking on tasks that require heavy lifting, use of sharp tools, walking across slick surfaces, or working with various temperatures. Most of the time the hustle of each shift can make completing these tasks quite stressful. All of these factors make accidents and injuries more likely.
The most common forms of injury in the restaurant industry include:
- Slips, Trips, and Fall
- Cuts or Burns
- Lower Back Injuries
- Machine-Related Injuries
With the open lines of communication and training on proper safety protocols, many of these accidental injuries can be prevented. Here are a few tips on avoiding potential workplace accidents and injuries:
- Stay on your feet. Wear slip-resistant footwear and use mats in areas that attract a lot of moisture to add some security to those slippery spots. But placement and maintenance are also important so the mats themselves do not lead to injury. It is also important to keep the walking areas clean and clear of obstacles. Talk to your manager if there are areas in your workplace that might need to be evaluated for their safety.
- Protect your hands. Make sure staff is trained in the proper use of sharp tools and heated equipment. Use protective gear when it is available. If cuts and burns are a frequent occurrence in your workplace, consider investing in reinforced gloves and burn guards to keep employees protected.
- Stay strong. Avoid serious lower back injuries by using proper lifting techniques for the work you are doing. Use lifting devices, tray stands, and properly maintained tools to decrease the strain you are putting on your body. Don’t forget to wear proper shoes for laborious work and take frequent breaks to avoid over-exertion. Look for ways to make your work more ergonomically-friendly.
- Be a knowledgeable operator. If your job requires you to operate machinery, be sure you are properly trained to avoid serious injury. Keep all machinery up-to-date and well maintained to keep employees safe.
If you have questions or concerns on the safety protocols in your workplace, or have suggestions for ways to help prevent injury in your area, talk to your management team about making improvements. Being proactive won’t just help you, but it will help your fellow co-workers as well.
Dr. John E. Aoki, M.D. CHCQM, FABQAURP
Chief Medical Officer
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