Make Your Hospitality Work Environment Safer

January 19th, 2012

How safe is your hospitality work environment?  Consider these statistics, courtesy of workers-comp-news.com:

  • more than 4.1 million people in the United States suffer a workplace injury or occupational illness;
  • 18 people die each day from a work-related injury;
  • workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries cost society $155.5 billion annually.

Unfortunately, the fast-paced environment that characterizes the hospitality industry often places it near the top of annual lists for employee injuries and accidents per capita.

While substantial progress has been made toward establishing safe work practices in hospitality, there is still room for improvement.  If you’re just learning about workplace safety, or would like to refresh your knowledge, take a few minutes to read this brief but valuable post outlining tips to create a safer hospitality work environment.

  1. Keep the work space as clean as possible.  Poor housekeeping can cause frequent workplace accidents.  As such, cleaning should be an ongoing effort by all employees – especially in environments where food is prepared or served.
  2. Properly plan/staff orders, jobs and events.  When expectations, time schedules and requirements are clearly communicated, each team member knows how to complete his job safely and on time.  As part of your planning, identify potential safety hazards and process bottlenecks, so you can avoid them.  All too often, poor planning leads to rushing, which then results in shortcuts, accidents and injuries.
  3. Remind employees to:  lift with their legs and knees; never twist while lifting something heavy; use the right tools for the job.  Post these reminders in areas where your employees will frequently see them.
  4. Encourage staff to report dangerous conditions.  You can’t be everywhere at once, so train your employees to proactively identify situations which could be potentially dangerous.  Evenly a seemingly innocuous burned-out light bulb or beverage spill could lead to a slip, trip or fall.  Make sure everyone on your staff knows to whom dangers should be reported.
  5. Remember that maintenance isn’t just for equipment.  Keeping your equipment in tip-top shape is a major part of keeping your workplace safe, but your staff needs regular “maintenance,” too.  Make sure employees receive ongoing training in the latest safety practices.  And since a culture of safety depends on your employees’ fresh eyes, make sure they get plenty of rest between shifts.
  6. Establish and enforce formal workplace safety policies and procedures.  Your company’s management team should create and carry out an accident prevention program that encourages employees to take safety measures seriously and to report any dangerous situations.  Make resources available to your staff with contacts and phone numbers in case of an emergency.

Creating a safe work environment should be a top priority for every hospitality employer.  Not only can a culture of safety reduce injuries and workers’ compensation claims; it can also improve morale and increase productivity.  So make workplace safety everyone’s responsibility.  Work with your staff in implementing these common-sense tips and everybody will benefit.

At Penguin Staffing, we work diligently with our clients to ensure workplace safety.   We thoroughly orient and train our on-call and temporary hospitality and banquet workers, to make sure they stay productive and efficient on the job.

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