There are many opportunities for accidents in a bustling kitchen setting. A cook could sustain burns from hot appliances. A waiter could slip and fall on a slippery floor and break a bone. A sous chef could strain their wrist from repetitive chopping motion. A runner could develop shoulder problems from carrying heavy trays of food. However, one of the most common injuries resulting in workers’ compensation claims in restaurants comes from knife accidents.
According to the 2017 Restaurant Loss Cost Trends Report, knife accidents constitute nearly one quarter of all restaurant workers’ comp claims. If restaurant managers devote time and resources to two core areas, they can significantly reduce the likelihood of such injuries from occurring:
Training on proper knife use
Managers should train all workers who handle knives–from cooks to dishwashers–in the following best practices:
• Workers should always wear cut gloves whenever they cut anything–even if they’ll only be cutting for a short time.
• Workers should know how to safely wash knives.
• Workers should safely store any knives that aren’t in use.
• Workers–or managers–should regularly check that all kitchen knives are sharp.
Adjusting to shifting demands
As a new restaurant gains in popularity, the kitchen staff may face added pressure to deliver more food faster. A business savvy manager will know how to grow the kitchen to meet the higher demand–without risking their staff’s safety.
Restaurant managers should be prepared to hire additional kitchen staff to accommodate the increased workload. In addition, they should be alert to cramped working conditions–which can hinder the work flow and increase the likelihood of accidents–and be prepared to expand the kitchen space itself.
Taking proactive steps to reduce workplace injury will make workers feel cared for–and will also help the business’s bottom line by reducing workers’ compensation claims.