Commercial kitchen employees are facing slip and fall hazards every day due to the ubiquitous grease and water on the dish room floor or a mat with an upturned corner and lots of others. Both managers and employees alike can reduce the risk by being vigilant and adopting proper cleaning practices. OSHA also required standards that employers must meet in order to safeguard restaurant employees and patrons from harm.
Potential Dangers –
Every restaurant employees are subject to the risk of slipping and falling. Such incidences can result in serious injury that tantamount to loss of work hours and negatively affect the safety reputation of the restaurant. OSHA considers the following conditions as dangerous to restaurant employees that cause slip and fall injuries:
1. Floors are cluttered and slippery from oil, water or food in the cooking and dishwashing areas;
2. Physical obstacles like improperly placed drain covers that are especially dangerous to kitchen workers;
3. Weather conditions can also play a role for employees especially when they are carrying items from a delivery truck; and
4. Trays or stacks of plate carried by servers and bussers around blind corners or through single entry doors to the kitchen are equally hazardous.
Employees can protect themselves by –
1. Wearing non-slip, waterproof shoes to decrease the chances of slipping;
2. Cleaning up any spill immediately;
3. Not running in the restaurant;
4. Storing all products and supplies properly to eliminate clutter;
5. Being aware of outside weather conditions and dressing appropriately when unloading supplies;
6. Applying de-icing products to exterior walkways and entryways to protect both employees & customers;
7. When carrying stacked items, employees should be able to see over the stack to clearly navigate their destination;
8. Being sure that rugs and mats are in their proper places and that all corners or edges lay flat; and
9. Not overfilling the bus tubs, since items may fall out and cause a trip hazard.
Employers can protect employees by –
1. Providing a safe, injury-free environment for employees and customers;
2. Installing two double swing doors with windows on kitchen entrances to assure those exiting and entering the kitchen can see what is on the other side;
3. Providing floor or ceiling outlets to plug in equipment so power cords do not run along walkways;
4. Stretching or re-laying any carpet that is bulging or bunched-up to eliminate a tripping hazard;
5. Using non-slip floor mats or non-skid floor waxes on surfaces where water or oil may be spilled;
5. Providing adequate floor drainage in wet areas;
6. Placing convex mirrors at blind corner;
7. Giving adequate lighting in all kitchen and cooking areas so employees can see where they are going;
8. Replacing any drain covers that are loose or broken;
9. Requiring employees to purchase non-slip restaurant shoes to assure adequate footing on wet surfaces; and
10. Keeping walkways and entryways clear of clutter and making sure they are wide enough so people traveling in opposite directions do not bump into one another or have to turn aside.
Following OSHA Standards –
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration develop and enforce standards designed to keep all business environments safe for both employees and customers. The following OSHA standards are designed to eliminate slip and fall hazards:
1. Standard 1910.22(a)(1). This standard requires that all places of employment be kept clean, orderly and in a sanitary condition.
2. Standard 1910.22(a)(2). All floors must be kept clean and dry. Where water spills are a concern, floor drains, false floors, platforms, mats or other dry standing places must be provided.
3. Standard 1910.145(c)(2). Warning signs for wet floor areas must be provided.