Eye on Hospitality: Keep Employees Safe This Summer

Eye on Hospitality: Keep Employees  Safe This Summer

By Paul Schlienz

Summer is here. Restaurants and hotels are in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year, and it’s important to keep in mind that safety training is more important than ever when you have increased workloads on existing staff.

Restaurants employ a wide variety of staff, from front-of-the-house food and beverage service workers and back-of-the-house kitchen and food prep staff to office and administrative staff, and sometimes, delivery drivers. Each of these jobs has hazards that must be addressed in your accident prevention plan (APP). Know the rules and train your employees.

If you run a restaurant, don’t forget:

  • You must have a written APP addressing your workplace’s safety and health hazards.
  • If you employ 11 or more employees, you must establish a safety committee with regular (at least monthly) meetings.
  • Post L&I’s mandatory Job Safety and Health Law poster where employees can read it.
  • Provide eye protection (usually goggles) when using chemical solutions. Locate an eyewash station without obstructions so it takes no more than 10 seconds to reach it. ƒ
  • Train workers on chemicals used in your workplace, including safe handling and storage procedures, in a manner your workers can understand. ƒ
  • Provide Safety Data Sheets for each product; make them available to workers at all times.
  • Make sure workers have hand protection for each chemical being used.

And see L&I for more tips on how to create a safe work environment in your restaurant.

Here is a good overview on OSHA hotel regulations. And here are some ways Washington’s hotels are keeping the number of on-the-job injuries down.

  • Radios for each worker: Improve your communication with an investment in a basic radio system. Workers can request assistance and supplies quickly to managers or the front desk, and alert hotel staff if they see anything detrimental to guests.
  • Throw a safety party! On the first day for new employees, some hotels are hosting health trainings covering HAZMAT, blood borne pathogens, general safety, harassment and personal injury prevention. This could also be done on a regular basis with your entire staff.
  • Stretch it out. At your daily morning meeting, have a team member lead the staff in stretching exercises to get their bodies ready for work.
  • Make it personal. Some hotels are going above and beyond for their employees by providing gym membership discounts, smoking cessation support and health and wellness training that improve their performance at work.
  • Bring in an expert. Hire a consultant to train employees how best to clean rooms and simple strategies to keep room attendants safe.

And don’t forget the Washington Hospitality Association’s Retrospective Rating (RETRO) program. As you work to create a safe workplace for your employees, RETRO is one thing you won’t want to ignore. It is one of the great benefits of Washington Hospitality Association membership, helping numerous members realize rebates on their workers’ compensation premiums because they follow our proven procedures. With our RETRO program, your safety ratings will improve, allowing you to also save money upfront on your L&I premiums. RETRO’s claims assistance will also save you valuable time.

RETRO gives you access to tools designed to help your business including the Stay at Work program, new hire safety orientation, mock safety inspections so you are always in compliance and accident reporting procedures. Our RETRO staff has access to L&I personnel to help resolve issues on our members’ behalf and RETRO’s annual refunds help you save money. Your employees are safer and you are well rewarded for your efforts. A true win – win.

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