As the cooler months approach and your staff comes to work in bulkier clothing and footwear to protect against the elements, these items may introduce contamination or pose safety risks to your food preparation and serving areas. According to Steritech, this is among the top 10 food safety challenges in foodservice operations. To minimize your risk, make sure you have a separate area for your staff to stow coats, bags and other gear – and that this area is regularly cleaned out and inspected for potential contaminants, as well as for risks for slips, trips and falls.
The spread of the Omicron variant – not to mention the typical seasonal illnesses taking a toll on staff – can make it easy for operators to overlook other important health and safety hazards in a restaurant that can lead to insurance claims. Slips, trips and falls are among the most common risks – and winter precipitation can increase the slippery spots in your facility that create hazards for staff and guests. In addition to regularly scanning floors to keep them clean, dry and non-slippery, Markel Insurance advises operators to clear spills with a clean mop and the recommended proportion of cleaning product in the water to remove grease. Remove clutter from walkways and work areas and keep them well-lit. Use slip-free mats in high-traffic areas and mark or fix any areas that may pose a tripping hazard, such as uneven flooring or bumps in carpeting.
Like last year, your business may be preparing to serve guests outdoors this winter – or at least to have more guests and delivery workers coming and going through your doors as they pick up orders in inclement weather. Make sure your facility is ready. Revisit how you will manage slick conditions outdoors in the case of cold weather or spilled drinks, ways you can prevent your indoor high-traffic areas from becoming slippery, and how you can limit the hazards of using areas adjacent to your restaurant – like shared parking areas or sidewalks being used for seating. Your cleaning procedures may need an update to address different seasonal risks.