How To Train Employees To Prevent Injury In the Hospitality Business
Written by Terri Hardin
As an employer, it’s up to you to school your employees in workplace safety, just as it’s their responsibility to adhere to these safety rules in order to prevent injuries from occuring on the job.
So what’s the right way to go about it?
Actual safety training varies according to the needs on your staff, but here are five ground rules:
Recognize your employees for who they are.
Hospitality is one of the leading industries for employing transient workers. According to the National Restaurant Association, one-half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives, and one-in-three people say it was their first job. Needless to say, entry-level employees bring a lot of enthusiasm to their tasks but not much knowledge. Most will need basic safety training in order to navigate the work environment safely.
Create “Safety Zones”
After you have analyzed and eliminated the safety weaknesses of your particular work environment, create “safety zones” in the work environment. Assign clearance to the zones based on experience and necessity; for example, wait staff should not go near open flames in the kitchen. Gradually allow employees entry, based on need. (Someone who has no need to be in a hazardous area should not be allowed access.)
Embrace a “Safety First” Culture
Establish “safety transparence” in the workplace. In the aftermath of an injury incident, much can be attributed to the relationship between management and employee. In a contentious, finger-pointing environment, safety and health can be treated like a football, with disastrous results. Throughout signage and training and reinforcing behavior, establish a “safety first” culture. If an employee mentions that they always “slip” on certain spot, investigate that spot. Always reward - not penalize - safe behavior!
Have a scheduling backup plan.
Staffing issues play a key part in workplace injuries. Not having enough hands on deck puts the whole team at risk. However, calling somebody in at the last minute poses its own risks. For this reason, San Francisco enacted a “predictable scheduling law” in 2015 that requires employers to work out schedules in advance and to compensate employees for any last-minute changes. But whether or not such laws are in place in your area, it’s advisable to have a “designated relief” worker in case someone calls in sick. That person will be able to handle a last-minute change better than an employee who was expecting to have time off and had made plans accordingly.
About those off-duty plans…
Ideally, employees whose behavior is a danger to themselves or others in the workplace should be discovered at the “Condition of Employment” phase before their hire. However, if an employee has developed a problem during their tenure, they should be offered counseling, re-training and a “Last Chance Agreement for Employee with Substance Abuse Problem.” Questions about this issue are coming up a lot with the prospect of legalized marijuana; but the issue of employee impairment remains the same, be it marijuana, alcohol or prescription drugs.
About The Author:
Terri Hardin is a veteran media professional reporting on the hospitality industry. She has held senior editorial positions at Cvent and Nielsen Business Media.
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