We care a lot about your experience on our website. Please tell us how we can improve.
If you want an immediate response, chat with us now
If you're a leader in the restaurant or foodservice industry, you probably have a general understanding of what OSHA is and how it affects your business. But understanding the basics won't keep you safe from serious fines and penalties that could impact your bottom line or put your out of business—and that isn't an overreaction. In 2020, the cost per serious OSHA violation was $13,653 and willful or repeated violations have a penalty of $136,532 per instance.
Safety hazards like grease dripping on the floor, low lighting, or clutter throughout the kitchen are all common causes of foodservice workplace accidents. Although you may not be able to eliminate these hazards entirely, you can reduce the risk your employees face by putting safety standards in place and ensuring that OSHA regulations are followed closely. Not only will you protect your employees this way, but the safer your employees are, the less you have to worry about OSHA penalizing you, your reputation being tarnished from public citations, and employees being out of work.
Common workplace injuries for restaurant and foodservice employees:
It's important to realize that any failure to maintain a safe environment for your workers falls on you or your management team. Your business has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for your employees and if you fail to do so, resulting in an accident, injury, or illness, you can be cited and fined by OSHA.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of OSHA and how they fine employers or business owners for citations. The way that OSHA determines each fine varies, but if you are aware of a problem within your establishment and fail to do something about it, the penalty involved can be even greater and you may be cited with a willful citation.
For example, a production and distribution company is facing upwards of $130,000 in fines and fees due to an accident that occurred in their facility. This incident severely injured the worker and was said to have occurred as a result of two repeat violations of machine safety standards. Another company, Smithfield Foods, faced fines of more than $13,000 related to not offering workers an environment safe from Covid-19 and/or failing to implement proper Covid-19 precautions, according to this citation.
Every year, thousands of workers in restaurants and the foodservice industry suffer injuries in the workplace. In fact, according to a JOEM study, food industry workers are 60% more likely to suffer occupational illness or injury compared to workers in other industries outside of foodservice. This number may seem high, especially when you consider that as a division of the United States Department of Labor, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) exists to protect employees throughout many industries. Whatever type of foodservice business you may own or work in, complying with OSHA standards is key to keeping your business free of known hazards. OSHA has implemented a number of rules and regulations for both the restaurant industry and general work environments that may apply to your business.
Here are a few ways that you can reduce workplace injuries and ensure a safer workplace:
As times change and new unforseen circumstances arise, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic, OSHA releases new guidelines to protect workers. The intention of these new guidelines that have recently been put in place include taking steps to reduce risk to employees of being exposed to Covid-19. For example, workers who are sick or have exhibited signs of Covid-19 should stay home or go home. Whenever possible, direct contact between guests and employees should be avoided, especially if you are operating a take-out service. Routinely cleaning all equipment, surfaces, and preparation areas, and ensuring that your establishment is stocked up with the proper maintenance, cleaning, and disinfection supplies should be a top priority.
Taking proactive steps to understand these risks your workers face in the foodservice industry is the most effective ways to reduce injuries and achieve a safer workplace. Ensuring that your employees feel safe at work and comfortable to let you know when they don't feel well or have suffered an injury is very important to creating a healthier environment. If you do witness a worker suffer an injury on the job or have one reported to you, it is important that you act right away. Follow all the proper protocols for workers' compensation, including making sure your employee knows that their health and safety is being looked out for by you and your team.
Only Hubert delivers the expertise and products to solve complex challenges like overcoming the labor shortage, driving more food sales, and creating a memorable experience for customers.
For 75 years we've helped many industries—including hospitality, education, food retail, healthcare, retail, and more—overcome these unique challenges with our expertise and line of products, including displayware, display fixtures, décor, signage, bar & beverage, food prep equipment, large commercial equipment, ice machines, merchandisers, and back of the house equipment.
Want to learn more? Talk to an expert.
Legal Disclaimer: Hubert is not a legal advisor. This document is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal information or advice. All communication from Hubert should be confirmed by your company's legal advisor before making any decisions.