Commercial Kitchen Safety 101

Effective Commercial Kitchen Safety Prevents Injuries and Saves Money

If you’re responsible for a restaurant or commercial kitchen, implementing comprehensive safety measures is imperative. More than 11 million Americans work in the restaurant industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accidents are bound to happen, but with the proper precautions, we can help keep those millions of people safe.

“The restaurant industry as a whole experiences a high frequency of low-severity accidents. But there can definitely be some bad ones. And many of these can be quite expensive."

 – Mike Keeler, former head of safety at Yum! Brands Inc. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc.

In our eBook Safer Kitchens: How to protect your employees and operations from undue risk, we show that the top four injury categories in commercial kitchens are:

cuts

Cuts, lacerations and punctures

slip

Slips, trips and falls

sprains

Sprains, strains and soft-tissue injuries

burns

Burns and scalds

These injuries range from minor to life-threatening, and while any employee can suffer a workplace injury, back-of-house (BOH) staff are particularly vulnerable. By taking steps to keep your BOH operations hazard-free, you can have a positive impact on the safety of your commercial kitchen, prevent unexpected costs from arising, and improve both profitability and employee morale.

Locations and Causes of Slips and Falls

According to the National Safety Council’s slips, trips and falls data, these types of incidents account for 27.5% of all reported worker injuries.

Most slips and falls are caused by some type of liquid, such as oil, or other substance on the floor.

And those accidents typically happen near sinks and fryer vats.

What’s the Cost of Commercial Kitchen Safety Failure?


Besides the pain and hardship an injured worker suffers, there are tangible financial costs for failing on kitchen and restaurant safety.

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31% of reported injuries in food service establishments resulted in days away from work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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The average cost per worker compensation claim is $42,008, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
• $58,284 is the average cost of a burn incident
• $47,681 is the average cost of a fall/slip incident

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Potential fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
• $13,653 per serious violation
• $136,532 per willful or repeated violation

The personal costs of workplace injuries

 While the financial consequences are daunting, the personal costs of a workplace injury can be incalculable. The best and only acceptable solution is preventing injury in the first place.

Looking for steps to take?

Here are 3 essential commercial kitchen safety tips

TIP #1: Prioritize training

Body: OSHA reports that “[a]n effective safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested.” Training staff is a crucial part of such a program. Employees need to be well-versed in safe operation of all equipment, as well as general safety protocols and procedures.

Make safety an integral part of an organization. That means treating and talking about safety with the same care and gravity as you discuss labor, food costs, turnover or sales. Provide thorough and ongoing training to reinforce restaurant kitchen safety compliance.

 Check out our Kitchen Safety 101 whitepaper to get a more in-depth look at safety and training for your restaurant, plus our “Menu for Prevention” checklist.

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TIP #2: Minimize injury risks

One of the biggest areas for improvement in many kitchens is oil management. According to a Restaurant Technologies study conducted by a major insurance provider, an impressive 60% of workers' compensation incidents in restaurants are related to the handling of cooking oil — whether burns, slips and falls or back strains.

This isn’t surprising. Moving oil is a high-risk process. Fortunately, our closed-loop system allows for safe, easy disposal of used fryer oil and the automatic refill of new oil with the flip of a switch.

By eliminating the unpleasant and risky tasks of oil management, employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs. And everyone is protected from oil-related injuries like slips, falls and burns.

TIP #3: Eliminate fire risks

Nearly 6,000 restaurant fires are reported annually to the U.S. Fire Administration. Cooking equipment accounts for 61% of those fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Cleaning grease buildup on cooking equipment is essential to preventing fires. But there’s no denying it can be an expensive, miserable task. Solutions that make cleaning easier while improving fire prevention can go a long way to keeping staff and your business safe.

Restaurant Technologies’ Grease Lock and AutoMist system solutions can transform your cleaning routine and eliminate major fire risks from grease buildup.

Switching from conventional hood filters to Grease Lock cuts required cleanings by up to 75%. And the AutoMist system from Restaurant Technologies can drastically reduce the need for future hood cleanings by automating the entire cleaning process.

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You can have a safer, smarter, sustainable kitchen.

Restaurant Technologies provides automated and sustainable solutions that deliver immediate benefit to professional kitchens, helping to prevent accidents and protect people. Contact us below to get started.