Safety is paramount for every restaurant. A simple mistake can lead to illness, closure of your business, damaged reputation, and in extreme cases, death. With open flames, sharp equipment, a lot of movement back and forwards through tight spaces and the inevitable spills, it is important to maintain safety in every facet of your eatery. To ensure everyone that walks into your premises is safe, it is vital to examine every aspect of your restaurant to minimize potential dangers. Maintaining a safe environment is simple. To help you through this process, we have outlined 6 tips to help reduce accidents and potential health and safety problems in your restaurant. 1. Cleanliness and Hygiene Hygiene in a restaurant goes beyond washing your hands after using the toilet, handling raw produce, or sneezing. It entails paying attention to the tiniest details to make sure not even the smallest nook or cranny goes unclean each day. No matter how busy you are, cleaning should be a priority. Cleaning entails: Clearing and washing dirty dishes immediately Removing food particles from the counter and wiping it regularly (with clean cloths or sponges) Constant, regular fumigation to control pests Ensuring knives, plates, silverware and cooking utensils are sanitized daily Cleaning ovens, stoves, grills, and hoods at the end of each day Make sure every food item is free of residue and properly sealed Empty and replace bins at the end of each day Make sure staff with flu, food poisoning, skin issues or any type of contagious illness does not clock in for the day 2. Train Your Employees You may know the importance of sanitation but your employees might not. Most restaurant owners overlook this aspect. They assume that if he/she cooks well, he should be right for the job. It is not uncommon to see many staff disregard certain rules in a restaurant. Fresh condiments are mixed in with old ones, hair is occasionally left uncovered, dishes unwashed. This type of behaviour could cost you your restaurant and lead to a lawsuit. To avoid all these, train your staff and reinforce the importance of hygiene and safety in the workplace. This could help you avoid unnecessary hassles. The risk of cross-contamination The proper way to clean The importance of chilling food produce properly Safe cooking practices How to operate the restaurant equipment safely and correctly 3. Monitor the Temperature of Your Cooling Unit Temperature is key in every food business. Produce needs to be stored at the right temperature. A few minutes without the accurate temperature and a once-suitable food can easily turn into a foodborne illness. According to FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) food should be kept, displayed or transported at a minimum temperature of 5°C. Instead of gambling with the safety of your clients, use a temperature monitoring system. This will help you avoid severe foodborne illness, wastage, and eliminate errors in monitoring temperature. 4. Provide Your Staff with Safety Equipment Even the most meticulous of staff make mistakes. For this reason, your staff need to be provided with the right safety kit. The kitchen staff should also be dressed properly in order to protect them from burns and spills. You should provide your staff with: A uniform: Don’t be tempted to buy poor quality materials. It won’t offer the proper level of protection that is needed. Slip-resistant shoes: In a restaurant spills are unavoidable but, with the right shoes, your employees are protected from slipping and falling. A first aid kit: When accidents happen, you need a fully stocked first aid kit readily available. Having the right equipment helps your staff reach their full potential and work with confidence. 5. Fire Safety A fire outbreak is almost unavoidable in a kitchen. Studies show that nearly 7,640 restaurants report an incident of fire outbreak each year. However, there are measures you can take to curb this potential risk or help manage it when it occurs: Place multiple fire extinguishers in strategic places in your restaurant. Install emergency lights, exit signs, and emergency doors. Set up appliances with fire suppression systems. Keep flammable objects away from fires. Teach your staff how to use a fire extinguisher properly. Replace extinguishers when they are low on fuel and check them regularly. 6. Electricity Safety Electricity can cause fires and can kill. Ensure that all electrical appliances are in good condition. Employees should be trained on how to spot an electric hazard. Also, they should not handle electrical faults themselves. Cables should not be on the walkways and should be far away from water or grease. Conclusion A busy restaurant is a disaster waiting to happen. To keep risk to the barest minimum, each member of staff should pay attention to details and strictly adhere to protocols. It is also wise to get insurance cover. This way should any mishap occur, your insurance provider can help you by handling the cost of replacements or repairs. If you cannot determine your insurance needs, you can visit www.ami.co.nz/contents-insurance to get an idea of what you need. By adhering to the food safety rules and sticking to the proper procedures you can to prevent problems before they occur. However, if accidents do happen, your employees should be prepared. Ensure that everyone in your organization understands the proper protocols and procedures.