Most catering safety signs revolve around hygiene and food safety considerations. In catering, safety signs must be placed where appropriate, they must be clear, and they must be easily read and understood. Signs are required where there’s a significant risk to the health and safety of employees - after all other safety measures are put in place.
Those in commercial kitchens and in catering must have safety signs and signals according to The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations of 1996, outlined by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK. It states that safety signs and signals are required anywhere there's risk to employee safety - after other safety measures are put in place. Signs have to clear, legible, and identify prohibited actions, safeguards, warn of hazards, or direct towards safety measures such as fire exits or equipment for fire safety or first aid.
Don't use more signs than needed, or it'll cause confusion. All signs have to be the same across the EU, according to the an EU directive, so that signs have the same meaning no matter the country in which they are used.
Check out the Safer Food Better Business Pack for Caterers from the UK Foods Standards Agency. It outlines all food safety procedures for the catering industry.
So, you’re in the catering business, which signs do you need to have in your workplace? Here’s a list of catering safety signs you need to consider.
1. Hygiene Catering Signs
Hygiene catering signs are put in place to avoid unhygienic practices in food prep, food storage, food washing, food cooking, and so forth. Make sure you have a strict hygiene policy in place. Place signs on your fridge and freezer, have signs for different food group information (meat, fish, vegetables, etc), have signs in your food prep areas, hand washing warnings, caution labels, drinking and non-drinking water information, hygiene info, catering and hygiene notices, dangerous machine signs, microwave oven safety information, and so forth.
Hygiene signs allow you to be compliant in food safety, and develop a culture of safety in the workplace. They are absolutely vital to remind everyone the importance of the basics, which can often be forgotten in a food-service rush.
You’ll need a sign for each of the following:
- Hand washing
- Chopping board and knives
- Sink for food wash
- Sink for utensil wash
- Sink for hand washing
- Defrosted food not refrozen
- No smoking sign
- Dangerous machinery sign
- Cook chill guidelines
- First aid symbol
- Raw meat only
- All food must be covered
- Waste in bins provided
- Fish only
- Leave basin clean
2. Chemical Storage and Safety Signs
If your catering business stores any chemicals for cleaning, or First Aid, warning signs must be provided. These warnings prevent injury, and educate and communicate important information to staff. If someone cuts a finger, they'll know exactly where to find the first aid kit, and where to find the safety gloves to prevent contaminants dripping into the food!
The following chemical storage and safety signs should be used:
- COSHH Reg Notice (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
- Safety First
- Wear Gloves
- Wash Hands After
- Wear Eye Protection
- First Aid Box Situated
- Keep Locked Shut
- No Smoking Symbol
- Flammable Symbol
- Warning Chemicals
- Wet Floor Hanger
- Cleaning in Progress
3. General Health and Safety Signs: Prohibition, Warning, and Safe Conditions
Employees and customers should abide by important health and safety rules, but they should be clearly signed. Signs should be placed in visible areas to prevent dangers, provide warnings, and point to safe conditions (exits). General health and safety signs increase efficiency and let everyone know where everything is. They allow for safer conditions by reminding everyone where the kitchen hazards are to switch off lights, find the exits, find fire extinguishers and so forth.
- Switch off lights sign
- Close windows sign
- Close doors
- Turn taps off
- Save electricity
- Avoid hazardous chemicals
- CCTV signs for outdoor and indoor use
- First Aid poster
- Health and Safety guide poster
- Exit sign
- Fire exit sign
- Fire Door sign
- No Smoking signs
4. Off Site Catering Signs (for fixed sites/restaurants/bars)
Make sure you have visible signs on site to help customers and staff understand the health and safety policy you have in place. Offsite catering signs keep patrons informed and allow for crowd management. It allows everyone to be more efficient. Imagine having to search for a bathroom that isn't well signed (or signed at all)! These safety signs manage customer and staff expectations.
- Under Age Drinking sign
- Drugs Warning Notices
- Leave Premises Quietly Sign
- Car Park Disclaimer
- Weights & Measures Act
- Wine by the Glass
- Children Are Not Allowed Or Served At The Bar
- Toilets/Disabled/Baby Change
- Staff Only
- Mind Your Head/The Step
Having safety signs in place makes your workplace safer. Also, having the right safety footwear makes your workers safer too. Along with non-slip mats in the commercial kitchen and bar spaces, make sure your workers are protected with slip-resistant shoes. Slip-resistant shoes come with a variety of additional safety features - from extra light shoes, extra cushioning, arch support, trip resistance, and more. At Shoes for Crews (Europe), Ltd. we have designed a number of styles with catering staff in mind. Check out our selection.
Where to Buy Your Catering Signs
The are many online catering sign shops. You can buy signs individually or as part of a pack. Here are some sites below:
Test your Safety Sign in the Catering Industry knowledge with this safety sign quiz!
Don't forget that signs are a last resort against other safety measures put in place - such as slip-resistant mats, flooring, and slip-resistant footwear. Keep everyone safe with the right shoes. Our shoes are the safest in the industry, meeting up to four times the minimum standard when tested on ceramic and steel surfaces coated in glycerin - and our shoes still don't slip.
When employees have both feet safely on a slip-resistant mat, they work faster, better, and more efficiently. With MightyMat® slip-resistant floor mats, any greasy, slippery walkway becomes a safe, high-traction surface. Treat employees that stand in one place for hours at a time to an easier shift. Safety mats combined with slip-resistant shoes guarantees the safest work environment for every employee.
Now you've picked your signs - what about staff footwear?
Find out how our new sole technology keeps catering staff safe at work - getting you home safe every time. We have slip-resistant styles with multiple elements to keep your staff safe in the workplace. Download our FREE tech guide now: