Combating the 4 Biggest Health and Safety Risks in Hospitality and Catering
Health and safety should always be imperative for everybody in the workplace. Every institution will have detailed policies and procedures in place in order to achieve staff safety but in the hustle and bustle environment of the hospitality and catering industry, sometimes not everything should be done to ensure all parties are safe.
To make sure that you are the safest you possibly can be whilst you are at work, Search Hospitality and Catering discusses how to combat the four biggest health and safety risks in the hospitality & catering industry.
Slips & Trips
Slips and trips remain the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces with hundreds of accidents reported every year in the hospitality industry. The occupations most affected are kitchen assistants, chefs and waiting staff due to their close proximity to hazards such as spilled food stuffs, fluids and equipment.
Cleaning as you go is vital to avoid these kinds of injuries so do not ignore a spillage or a fallen item if you see it, as somebody else might not be as attentive. If this is not possible, clearly display and indicate any potential hazardous areas until it can be removed.
You must also report any damaged or jagged floors that you spot to prevent staff from tripping. Repairs should be carried as soon as possible or clearly marked with a high visibility notice.
The most obviously dangerous item in a kitchen needs to be handled with extreme care and expertise by competent professionals and treated with the upmost caution by those who do not use them on a day-to-day basis.
Professionals need to make sure all knives are kept sharp to limit the chances of erratic movement that may cause cuts and only suitable blades are used for specific tasks or foods. All knives must be sheathed after use and never left loosely on tables where they can be accidentally pushed off.
Aches and pains may be a common symptom that almost everyone experiences during their lives but excessive heavy lifting and bending in occupations like porters, loaders and waiting staff can turns these niggles into much more serious conditions.
Every employer should have their own policies when it comes to manual handling but in general you should always follow these rules.
- Make sure you that only lift or move heavy objects that you know you are capable of shifting regardless of the situation.
- Put the full weight of your body behind lifting an object rather than just your arms.
- Avoid keeping your lower body static when picking up items off the floor or moving something 90 degrees in any direction as this often leads to twisting and straining your muscles.
Dermatological Defects and Dermatitis
The number of new cases of workers suffering from dermatitis in the hospitality and catering industry is twice the national average of all other industries. Prolonged exposure to cleaning chemicals must be safely managed by both the employer and employee.
Always try to avoid contact with concentrated cleaning products for an extended period of time when possible. For some this is often unachievable due to the nature of their work so make sure you are provided with a pair of high quality latex gloves that will fully protect your hands from coming into contact with skin irritants.
Try to regularly moisturise your hands once you have finished working to prevent dry skin – although make sure to check the list of products used to make the lotion to prevent any allergic reactions. Should you develop any/all signs of itchy, dry or red skins, report it to your supervisors or H&S officers who will treat the symptoms accordingly. Make sure that whilst you are interacting with these chemicals you do not rub or itch your eyes as this can lead to severe discomfort.
Search Consultancy is a specialist in sourcing and placing a variety of positions within the hospitality and catering sector including chefs, waiters and caretakers. We also pride ourselves on guiding our candidates through some of the most important issues surrounding the industry. If you have any questions please contact a member of the Search Hospitality & Catering team in your nearest England office.