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Tips for Creating an Effective Workplace Safety Training Program

A working woman using the correct safety equipment

Safety is king in the workplace. It’s important for employers, employees, and customers. At Arrow Up, we believe that safety training programs don’t have to be difficult, complicated, or a hassle. 

Related: Safety Topics to Talk About in Your Employee Training Programs

Before we jump into the specifics, let’s look at some of the topics that every workplace should go over in their safety training program:

  • Fire safety -- we know that you don’t expect your employees to actually fight a workplace fire, but they need to know what to do in the event that one occurs. Teach them how to report the incident and stay safe if a fire occurs.
  • Violence prevention -- workplace violence happens more than employers like to admit. Train your employees how to recognize signs and risk factors of violence in the workplace.
  • Health resources -- your employees’ mental and physical health is a top priority. Make sure to share any resources you have available with them.
  • Environmental safety -- make sure to cover safe lifting techniques, electrical safety, and material storage and disposal with your employees.
  • Equipment safety -- even for experienced employees, it’s crucial to touch on job-specific equipment safety regularly to ensure that no avoidable accidents occur.

Restaurant-Specific Safety Training Program Tips

Injuries and illnesses in the kitchen cost restaurant owners millions each year, along with disrupting their guests’ experience. Back-of-house safety should be a top priority for any restaurant owner or worker. Unsafe environments and lack of safety equipment and attire can have devastating results for commercial kitchens, no matter their size. Here are some easy tips to keep your kitchen staff safe throughout the rush:

Related: Safety Training for New Restaurant Employees

  1. Attire for Kitchen Workers

Uniforms for kitchen staff show a cook’s rank and keep them comfortable throughout the service. One important thing that can be a cause for injuries and often gets overlooked is their footwear. Keep your kitchen staff safe and train them to wear proper shoes during service to prevent slips and falls -- one of the most common accidents in the kitchen.

Closed-toe and waterproof footwear helps reduce the risk of cuts, burns, and scalds throughout the day. Shoes should always have non-slip soles; between water, cleaning agents, and oil, there are slip hazards throughout the entire back-of-house.

  1. Non-Slip Mats

Speaking of slips and falls, non-slip mats are excellent for preventing accidents in the kitchen. Placing these mats on the line, prep areas, and dish pit can help keep your employees safe throughout the day. Kitchen floors can get greasy during service hours, presenting a hazard for your workers. This can present dangers even for your front-of-house staff when they venture back into the kitchen. Many slip-resistant mats also provide some padding for your staff, so they aren’t standing on hard concrete all day long.

  1. Ventilation

Kitchens are hot -- that’s a fact that any kitchen worker has to deal with. It can quickly become an unsafe environment without proper ventilation; a hot, smoky atmosphere is a dangerous place for your cooks. Heat-related illness is a serious concern in the kitchen.

Simply having a ventilation system isn’t the only thing a restaurant owner needs to worry about. You need to properly train your kitchen staff on cleaning the ducts and components to keep them and your building functioning safely and optimally.

  1. Equipment Guards

Slicers, mixers, and grinders are essential tools in any kitchen. They make prep faster and easier for your workers, but they pose a safety risk if not used properly. There are two important things you can do to ensure the safety of your prep cooks when using this equipment:

  • Make sure that they use the guards! For whatever reason, kitchen staff have the tendency to not want to use safety guards (we know it’s a problem that’s not easily solved). Whether you decide to reward the use of safety equipment or punish prep cooks for not using them properly, every restaurant owner needs to ensure that these safety measures get used.
  • Train your staff on how to safely use the equipment! While using a meat slicer or grinder is second nature for a seasoned cook, your fresh recruits might not want to admit that they aren’t sure how to use them correctly. Give everyone a quick refresher course on the safe use of kitchen equipment to ensure that they are doing things the right way.
  1. Signage
Signage for workplace safety

Again, slips and falls are the number one cause of injuries in the kitchen. We know you have wet floor signs in the building -- you need to train your kitchen staff to actually put them out. Whether it’s from a spill during dinner service or from mopping at the end of the night, if the floor is wet, make sure that your cooks are setting up the signs.

Things break in a kitchen. Things go wrong in a kitchen. There’s no way around it, but you can train your staff to handle these situations better. Damaged equipment? Clearly mark it as so. Damaged property? Mark off the area. We know that free time isn’t something readily available in the kitchen, but a few seconds of taking safety precautions saves a lot of time in the long run.

  1. Health & Safety Training

Your kitchen staff moves at insane speed all throughout the service; they probably aren’t as worried about doing things safely as they are about getting dishes out quickly. That’s why it’s crucial to hold safety training programs; you can hold these training periods once a month, and it doesn’t take up too much of your workers’ time. Important topics to go over with your cooks include:

  • How to lift heavy objects safely
  • Food handling and storage techniques
  • Avoiding RSI (Repetitive Strain  Injury)
  • Removing and avoiding potential kitchen hazards
  1. Cleaning Techniques

Hygiene in the kitchen is no joke for your workers or your customers. Food-borne illnesses are one of the number one causes for kitchen staff calling in, and if your customers experience the illness, everything starts to go downhill quickly. Make sure to dedicate time in your safety training program to talk about safe food handling and cleaning techniques. A sanitary kitchen should be a top priority for every restaurant owner to keep their workers and guests safe.

On-Going Safety Training Programs With Arrow Up

A woman using proper PPE for workplace safety

We’ll leave you with a few final tips that any company can use in its safety training programs:

  • Document everything -- finished up a training session? Get your employees’ signatures stating that they completed the training. Believe us; this can save you in the long run.
  • Provide safety equipment -- don’t just tell your employees what they should use to stay safe; give them the tools they need to stay safe on the job.
  • Safety training is an on-going process -- when was your last safety training meeting? It’s easy for your employees to forget something they learned in the past; keep your training program on-going so that they can stay safe for their entire careers.

How can you ensure that you cover all of the important stuff in your workplace safety training program? Programs from Arrow Up engage your employees and give you the tools you need to stay safe and compliant!

Related: Safety Courses From Arrow Up

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