As a part of managing staff, you must consider their health and safety at work. So why should you be aware of this topic? Health and safety at work is extremely important, and hotels, restaurants and cafes must put strict guidelines in place. Hospitality owners should complete regular health and safety and hygiene checks, not only to comply with existing laws, but also to ensure the safety of employees and customers.
Hazards in Hospitality
Monitoring risks that are inherent to your business is the first step in planning an efficient health and safety programme. In order to do this, you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide if you are taking reasonable precautions to prevent that damage. But what are the most common health and safety hazards in the hospitality industry? Below you’ll find a list of the most frequent and relevant ones:
- Slips, trips and falls: Staff and customers slipping, tripping, falling may cause bruising or possible fractures.
- Manual handling: Staff receiving back and neck injuries from lifting heavy loads (e.g. barrels, crates of bottles etc.)
- Contact with steam, hot water, hot oil and hot surfaces: Kitchen and food service staff may suffer scalding or burns injuries.
- Gas and pressurised equipment: Staff and customers risk injury from explosion from over-pressurisation of beer pump systems, or faulty or damaged cylinders.
- Contact with bleach and other cleaning and washing chemicals: Prolonged contact with water, particularly in combination with detergents, can cause skin damage.
- Noise: Staff suffering hearing damage from live and recorded music.
6 Steps to Plan a Safety Programme
Understanding the importance of health and safety at work and identifying potentially dangerous situations, is only the first step. Once you’ve identified the risks to staff and customers, it’s time to develop a safety programme. The following six steps will help you to prepare or improve the health and safety programme for your business.
1. Check hazards and develop a safety plan. Once you know the hazards that are related to your workplace, you should take steps to eliminate or minimise them. Tell your workers what you expect from them and what you will do in order to develop a safety plan.
2. Inspect your workplace. Regularly check all equipment and tools to ensure that they are maintained and safe to use. Also check storage areas and review safe work procedures.
3. Train your staff. Take the time to train your workers. Inform your workers about the hazards in your workplace and how to protect themselves from those. Provide and maintain protective devices, equipment and clothing, and ensure that workers use them. Provide written instructions and safe work procedures.
4. Talk regularly with your workers. Creating a culture that supports open communication is important. Meet regularly with your staff to discuss health and safety issues, encourage them to share their ideas and thoughts on how to improve safety in the workplace.
5. Investigate incidents and maintain records. Look into the causes of incidents, find ways to change procedures or equipment to help prevent similar incidents from occurring. Keep records of all first-aid treatment, inspections, incident investigations and training activities.
6. Make safety become a key part of your business. Safety is just as important to a successful business as the other business areas. A commitment to health and safety is the only way to protect people who work for you and your costumers. In the long term it will turn into good reputation, attractive place to work, and good employee retention.
Once you have a health and safety program in place, review it annually and revise it to make sure it continues to address any concerns.