Ensuring maximum safety in your commercial kitchen is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you want to make sure that your staff isn’t injured – or worse – but you also need to ensure you pass health code inspections and that you don’t open up your company to potential lawsuits. Food Services of America has a comprehensive guide called Safety in the Kitchen that outlines a number of essential tips to keep your staff – and your kitchen – as safe as possible.
The guide states that, “Many accidents may be prevented by using proper equipment and attire in the kitchen,” so it’s wise to make sure everyone has the appropriate attire. Their recommendations include “long sleeves to reduce burns, closed toe, skid-resistant shoes to reduce falls and injuries from hot liquids, and heavy pans for increased stability and fewer spills.”
There are also some tips for moving heavy loads: “It is common for foodservice employees to need to move loads of up to 50 lbs. Employees should know how to safely lift heavy loads in order to reduce potential back injuries. Train employees to lift with their legs, take small steps, and change direction by moving their feet, not twisting, when handling heavy items. Use a cart or dolly to lift extra heavy loads. Aisles should be wide enough for employees to lift and carry cases without hitting shelves. When possible, store heavy loads at waist height. Load trays with the heaviest items in the center.”
One of the key aspects of an overall kitchen safety plan is preventing fires. According to the guide listed above, these are the rules every restaurant should follow:
- Never leave dish rags or aprons near a hot surface.
- Never leave stoves or other equipment unattended when in use.
- Clean range hoods and stoves on schedule to help reduce build-up.
- Don't overload electrical outlets.
- Don't force three-pronged cords into two-prong outlets.
- Don't use equipment with a frayed cord or bent prongs.
- Don't use equipment that smokes, sparks or otherwise arouses suspicion.
- Employees should know the building evacuation plan, what the fire alarm sounds like, how to turn on the fire alarm, where to find a fire extinguisher, and how to use it.
These are all great fire-safety tips for a commercial kitchen but it’s also important to start with equipment that takes safety into consideration. For example, how old is your kitchen’s exhaust fan? Hoodmart has hundreds of ventilation options for brick and mortar stores as well as ventless hoods that work great on mobile food trucks.