Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury and fatality in the restaurant industry. It is a legal requirement for companies to ensure the health and safety of their employees and anyone who may be affected by their work. This can be achieved by taking precautionary measures to lessen the chances of slipping. The most common cause of slips is wet floors; however, it is reported that many companies attempt to clean their wet surfaces but do so incorrectly. A solution which many try is to cover the affected area with a cardboard cut-out, which instead creates a surfboard motion for anyone who walks over it and rapidly increases the chances of slipping. The best solution is to wipe the area with a clean, dry tissue which prevents chemicals worsening the state of the surface. Therefore, by taking the issue of cleaning seriously in the workplace and training employees correctly, kitchens can reduce the chances of slipping significantly. The consequences of not cleaning effectively can be seen in a case study titled ‘Chef slips and suffers severe arm burns from hot oil’ by HSE. In this case study it is reported that a Chef, while on duty at work, slipped as he walked over a pool of water and burned his outstretched arm in nearby hot oil. HSE had previously warned the company about their wet floors in an inspection and because of this they were fined £14,000. Therefore, this incident could have been avoided if correct precautionary measures had taken place.
Another cause of slips in the workplace, which many businesses fail to address, is a poorly structured floor. Consequently, this means that even with efficient cleaning, the risk of slipping cannot be lowered. In case of such a problem it is good practice to frequently measure the dynamic coefficient of friction. This can be done by using a skid resistance tester, as this product gives an indication of how slippery a floor is. If the instrument indicates that the surface is slippery, it would then be necessary to replace the flooring with a high traction material. However, this does not eradicate the need for good cleaning practise and it is also beneficial to make sure that all employees wear slip resistant soles and low heels.
If you would like further information on assessing and managing slip risk in restaurants, please get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (+44 (0) 20 8551 7000).