Dangers in a hospitality workplace are countless. From falls to burns to cuts and even noise, hospitality workers face a surprisingly inhospitable work environment. However, many of these issues are avoided with an effective workplace safety policy, and a key part of any workplace safety policy is uniform.
Slips, trips and falls in the workplace are frequent, especially behind the scenes. Surfaces can quickly become slippery with food, oil or water. A kitchen is the last place anyone would want to lose their footing, especially if they are holding anything sharp or hot – most things in a kitchen are one or the other. Wearing the wrong footwear compounds the danger, so it is essential that staff members follow strict regulations regarding their shoes. Good grip and short or no laces are two good starting points when looking at good hospo footwear.
With hospitality workers constantly being on the move, it is important that uniforms and fashionable yet practical. Front of house workers need to be able to move quickly and efficiently without fear of getting caught on anything, which could result in any number of slips, trips or falls. Having the right shoes plays a part in this, as does having aprons which won’t come undone and unobtrusive legwear.
Noise and heat in the kitchen are not only distracting, but they can also result in miscommunication and frustration, which can lead to hazards being overlooked. Removing the sources of noise and heat is often unavoidable in a kitchen, so steps should be taken to ensure safety. Ear protection for those closest to loud noise is recommended, and breathable clothing made of materials such as cotton will allow free air movement and evaporation.
Specialty meats such as Spanish ham are becoming more and more popular, and with these meats comes the need for a slicing machine. Slicing machines can be dangerous beasts, and it is necessary to provide users with the appropriate training and equipment such as thumb guards and protective gloves.
Further to the practical elements of uniforms, it is important for any foodservice provider to have a good stock of back-ups in case anything goes wrong. Having a waiter with soup on his or her shirt is not only a bad look, it could also pose a health risk to customers as well as staff. Restaurant and café owners should have sufficient supply of backup aprons, shirts and pants in the all-too-common event of spillages. A food poisoning event can be the death-knell of a hospitality business while online reviewers are ready to pounce on what they perceive as shoddy presentation from staff.
Handling food waste during cleaning processes can lead to nasty allergic reactions and diseases such as dermatitis. Staff should be equipped with appropriate cleaning gear to prevent this happening. Personal safety gear like masks and goggles should be worn if strong chemicals are being used, as well as basics like gumboots and gloves.