In addition to needing to meet safety and health requirements of local regulatory organizations, food trucks (and other mobile businesses, such as Concession Trailers) need to be able to satisfy the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
If a food truck doesn’t pass muster with OSHA, its owner could receive significant fines and even be subject to being closed down until certain conditions are remedied or improved.
The good news, according to Mobile Cuisine, is that OSHA’s requirements are within the bounds of reason. Much of what OSHA demands is in line with common sense and what you might expect from any entity that is charged with helping businesses and workplaces remain safe for everyone.
Your truck needs to have potable water (which means it is drinkable as served) as well as sinks and drains that are in good working order.
You must ensure that all exit routes from the truck are kept free of obstacles; you must also have an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.
Your truck’s or concession trailer’s ventilation systems must be operational. This includes regular maintenance that removes grease, dirt and other debris that could potentially cause a fire.
All of your kitchen’s mechanical equipment must operate in a safe manner; machines that make a noise or two aren’t simply “workhorses” that “sound that way.” Anything that could pose a risk to someone’s safety needs to be dealt with seriously.
It can’t be stressed enough that OSHA is not some governmental entity whose sole aim is to see how many people it can drive out of business. Safety – everyone’s – is the primary mission of this organization, which is intended to oversee both private and public entities.
OSHA can inspect your business at any time. If inspectors show up to your food truck unexpected, they may be responding to a specific complaint or potential violation. However, they can look over your entire operation to make sure that there are no other regulatory lapses.
Your best bet for surviving any inspection, of course, is regular, quality maintenance – and remaining vigilant, no matter how small a problem might initially appear to be on the surface.