Great efforts and successes have been achieved in the industry to reduce slips and falls in Owner/Operator Restaurants. Improved cleaning techniques and slip resistant shoes have helped to reduce the overall frequency and severity of slip and fall injuries. One area where costs are rising is due to housekeeping hazards that cause slips and falls. Of the owner operators with the highest overall losses, about ½ of them have had serious injuries as a result of housekeeping issues. Injury costs on these claims have been as high as $60,000. When employees fall, they can suffer strains, bruises, broken bones, or burns due to falling onto the flat top or even trying to stop their fall and reaching into the fryer. To reduce the potential for trips and falls due to housekeeping opportunities, remember the following:
- Keep bun carts in segregated areas, and away from employee traffic paths.
- Empty boxes should be immediately crushed and put into the proper trash receptacle.
- Cellophane wrappers and sheets are especially slippery. These should be balled up and thrown away as soon as they are no longer being used.
- Keep an eye out for any food items that may have fallen onto the floor. Something as small as a pickle slice can cause an employee to have a severe fall.
Another high exposure area for slips and falls occurs from the lack of attention to maintenance issues. This can be corrected by conducting regular inspections and follow up to ensure:
- The metal plates on the cooler and freezer floor are not lifting up.
- There are no missing or cracked tiles on the floor.
- The drain grates are secure, and areas around the drain grates are smooth as well.
- There are no cracks or indentations on sidewalks or in the parking lot of greater than ¼ of an inch. This can be measured by stacking 4 pennies next to the crack or indentation to measure the height.
A little care and foresight will help to reduce the potential for the injury exposure to slips and falls. This will also help ensure your employees go home in the same condition that they came to work!