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Restaurants can be accidents waiting to happen -- burns, falls, and cuts can all cause serious injury. Restaurant safety inspection checklists are a used in an effort to be proactive in preventing such accidents and cover everything from food safety to preventing falls and chemical spills. While there are various items on a safety checklist, many of which are specific to individual restaurants, some are more common than others.
Areas of Focus
There are eight areas to focus on in keeping your workers safe: falls, cuts, burns, fires, chemicals, electric, proper ventilation and first aid. In addition not every accident can be prevented so an easily accessible first aid kit and an eye washing station -- in case of a chemical spill or splash -- are a necessity for addressing any injuries that do occur.
Spilled chemicals are a major safety priority in both employee and customer safety. Not only can chemicals cause harm if exposed to skin but they can also be dangerous if spilled or absorbed into food. A good safety inspection checklist will remind you to frequently check if chemicals such as cleaners are in their correct containers, employees have access to and are wearing protective clothing when handling them, and that chemicals are always stored properly (for example on the lowest shelf possible to avoid preventable leaks into other items stored below).
Cuts and Burns
Cuts and burns can occur easily in the kitchen of a restaurant but they can be prevented. Your check list should contain key points for inspecting the condition of equipment and safe handling/usage training for employees. For example potholders should be clean and easily reachable to prevent burns, along with cut-resistant gloves. Your checklist should also include checking to see if sharp knives and other potentially dangerous equipment have proper storage spaces and are stowed there whenever they aren't being used -- as opposed to left laying around.
Preventing falls is another primary concern, not only for employees but for customers as well. Make sure wet floor signs are easily accessible and in good condition, and that employees are setting them up anytime the floor is wet from a spill or mopping session. Signs let customers know to be careful or to avoid the area to keep from falling. Workstations like dish rooms are notorious for having wet floors so your checklist should include making sure there are rubber mats in good condition to provide traction, and ensuring workers wear non-slip shoes.
Illness From Food
Food-borne illness can not only cause physical illness but it can also hurt your business. Employees should use a hand washing station frequently, especially after using the bathroom and your checklist should include verifying that hand washing signs are posted in each restroom and that employees are following procedure. Gloves must be used when handling food, and all wounds should be cared for and covered properly. All food must be in its original container with the date marked to ensure it’s fresh. Your checklist should also include keeping food at the appropriate temperatures as well as monitoring the function and use of equipment like meat thermometers, so that you know potentially hazardous food items are being cooked fully.
Jeff Herman began his journalism career in 2000. An experienced, award-winning sportswriter, his work has appeared in "The Washington Post," "ESPN the Magazine" and the "Boston Herald," among other publications. Herman has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from West Virginia University.