Restaurants are a minefield for slip and fall accidents, and most of these occur in the back of the house, or the kitchen area.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, each year more than 3 million foodservice employees are injured as a result of slip and fall accidents. Further, it is estimated that these accidents cost the foodservice industry more than $2 billion each year, and this number is rising by 10 percent every year.
However, according to Matt Morrison, marketing manager for Kaivac, developers of the OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system, there are at least five steps restaurant owners and managers can take to help reduce these staggering numbers:
- Communicate. "Safety, the problem of slip and fall accidents, does not get the attention it needs," says Morrison. "As soon as possible, have a safety meeting with staff and discuss how serious the slip and fall problem is in restaurants."
- Conduct a safety audit. A safety audit looks for potential hazards that can contribute to slip and fall accidents. Are there areas of the floor that have more grease and oil buildup than others? Are there loose cords or mats that tend to curl? Are there areas where the floor is uneven? These can all cause slips and falls.
- Analyze systems used to clean the floor. "In order to save water, more restaurants are mopping floors instead of hosing them down," says Morrison. "But studies going back more than 40 years indicate mopping spreads soils and contaminants [and can] leave a film that can cause an accident. Look into water-saving floor cleaning options that do not require the use of mops."
- Ask for feedback. The people that know your kitchen floor best are the ones standing on it every day. Ask them for suggestions on how to make the floor safer.
- Install drip-through matting. Drip-through mats allow grease and oil to drip below the walkway surface, helping to promote safety.