by Russell L. Bean, CFSP, Chef Magazine

This post accompanies "On the safe side," (page 18) of the September 2010 issue of Chef Magazine.

Workplace safety is a key management responsibility that requires employee training and consistent enforcement; plus adequate safety equipment, systems and supplies. Here are the top four safety issues, as well as some workplace solutions.

SAFETY ISSUE: Slips and falls
Management and procedural solutions
  • Specify slip-resistant kitchen floor materials in new construction
  • Require prompt cleanup of all food spills and water
  • Police clutter, trip hazards and general housekeeping
Safety support equipment
  • Provide nonskid floor mats (pictured, right: Shoes for Crews MightyMat Classic)
  • Provide nonskid footwear
  • Provide wet-floor warning cones/signs
  • Provide sturdy, stable ladders

SAFETY ISSUE: Lifting injuries
Management and procedural solutions
  • Train employees on proper lifting
  • Limit case-pack weight or break case-packs when received
  • Store heavy cases on middle shelves, not top or bottom
Safety support equipment
  • Provide hand carts and dollies (pictured, right: Rubbermaid Commercial Products Convertible Utility Cart)
  • Specify or order equipment and work tables with casters

Management and procedural solutions
  • Train employees in proper fryer operation and used oil handling
  • Train employees on safe range, broiler, griddle and oven operation
  • Use caution when opening steamer or combi doors and pot lids
  • Allow equipment to cool before cleaning or servicing
Safety support equipment
  • Provide oven mitts with arm protection
  • Provide fryer hot oil handling equipment (pictured, right: Worcester Industrial Products Shortening Shuttle Economy Series)

Management and procedural solutions
  • Train employees in proper knife-cutting techniques
  • Instruct employees in proper slicing equipment use; never remove guards
  • Ensure knives and slicer blades are sharpened
  • Purchase precut or sliced product
Safety support equipment
  • Provide cut-resistant gloves
  • Provide a knife sharpener (pictured, right: Chef'sChoice Commercial Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener model 2100)