Employee safety is important for a number of reasons. The most important, of course, is the health and safety of the employees, but other concerns include workers’ compensation claims, expenses, and reduced productivity and morale.
Rebecca Shafer, president of Amaxx Risk Solutions, says restaurants have a higher-than-average percentage of claims due to cuts, slips and falls, and strains. “Medical benefit costs tend to be below average due to the minor nature of most injuries, and permanent partial disability benefits occur infrequently, especially in restaurants with good morale and loyalty of family operations,” she says.
According to Larry Gallagher, director of corporate loss control for Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company in Iowa, the most frequent types of employee injuries in family-style restaurants are slips, trips, falls, and finger and hand lacerations. Slips, trips, and falls typically occur on wet floors, but they also occur near changes of elevation, such as stairs and ramps, and floor transition areas, such as where a tile floor and carpet meet. Finger and hand lacerations occur from the use and cleaning of knives and meat-slicer equipment.
Although these injuries can result in significant losses, back and shoulder sprains and strains from lifting are frequently associated with the most severe losses at family-style restaurants, according to Gallagher.
“When employees are injured and unable to complete their duties, productivity may decrease or other workers may be tasked with additional duties as they fill in for injured colleagues,” adds David Quezada, vice president of loss control for Employers, a workers’ compensation insurance carrier serving small businesses. “Workplace injuries can also have a negative impact on morale and insurance premiums for restaurants.”