According to Statista, the European restaurant and food service industry is booming, with eating out being one of the most popular leisure activities. But for the industry to keep succeeding, specific kitchen safety rules must be followed as the main cause of accidents in restaurants is an unsafe work environment. Here are eight obvious signs that it’s time to update the safety rules in your kitchen and how to go about it.
The signs you should watch out for are:
Personal protective equipment (PPE) exists for a reason - to protect staff from harm and this is especially important in a place as hazardous as a kitchen. That’s why you and your team need to wear your proper uniform. This includes slip-resistant and safe footwear so you can work without worrying about hazards like slippery floors, hot liquids and falling sharp objects.
In Europe, all powered kitchen equipment produced after 1995 are required to have the “CE” badge which indicates that the manufacturer has met EU safety standards and/or performance standards. These standards exist to ensure kitchen staff can work in an environment with the lowest risk of injuries.
That’s why every new kitchen appliance needs to be checked for the CE badge. There may be cases where the equipment looks fine but if it doesn’t have that badge, it may not meet the safety standards. So, you and your team might be risking injuries every time you use this appliance.
All kitchen equipment, from electrical appliances to pots and utensils, need to be properly cleaned, maintained, repaired or replaced when it’s time to do so. This is vital if you want to reduce the risk of injury.
For example, a faulty grill might not be cooking food properly or it might be one usage away from an explosion. Regularly inspecting and maintaining equipment means damages can be repaired or the item replaced before an accident happens.
Safety rules exist for a reason. That’s why no matter how experienced you are, you should never try and take shortcuts or do things your own way. You’re putting both yourself and your fellow employees at risk. Plus, you may be encouraging bad habits which just creates a vicious cycle of hazards.
For a safe kitchen environment, it’s vital that all team members are properly trained for the area they’re working in. If you or another team member are hesitating to follow the safety rules, it could be because you haven’t been given your proper training. If you continue to work like this, you could be creating even more hazards.
Understandably, it can be difficult to keep on top of cleaning, particularly during peak times in the restaurant. But cleaning is important to avoid cross-contamination and working in unhygienic conditions. If you notice that you and your team aren’t sticking to the schedule as often as you should, it’s definitely a cause for concern.
Fire is obviously a major hazard in the kitchen and restaurants must have fire suppression systems and extinguishing items in place to reduce this risk. But there’s no point having them if no-one knows how to use them. That’s why staff need to be trained in how to use these systems and items along with general fire safety tactics and first aid.
If your restaurant sees more new faces among the kitchen team than old, your bosses should schedule more training time than usual. This is important because the new staff need to undergo proper safety training before they are allowed to work unsupervised.
Why All of This Matters
In the past, all kitchen staff needed to worry about was preparing and cooking good food and meeting their profit targets. Now, teams also need to comply with the increasing amount of health and safety regulations that are constantly changing. If safety rules aren’t followed, employees are risking their own safety, the safety of their team, their customers and their restaurant’s success.
How to Fix it
If you’re noticing any of these telltale signs, you need to bring it up with your manager as soon as possible. Consider asking to talk to them one-on-one and voicing your concerns. Your manager can then organise a team meeting to try and resolve the safety issues.
There’s more to kitchen safety than updating the rules. You also need to ensure that your team are wearing appropriate safe work shoes. But there are specific factors you need to consider, such as specific footwear codes and checking that the shoe protects against occupational hazards.
For tips and advice on how to choose the ideal footwear for your job role, take a look at our Buying Guide below.