Health and Safety in Small Business: Restaurants (3 of 5)

Hey Farah, do not kick the door open – it could hit somebody, alright? Kwok! You always have to have the guard on! I want you to be working safe. Ok. Whoa, Ryan, that’s way too many. You’re going to hurt your back. Take less. That’s better. I’m constantly telling my staff to be safe. But I mean, what more can I do? There’s no common sense these days. Working safely takes more than just relying on common sense and telling your employees to be safe. You need to show them and then supervise them. Begin by giving new employees an orientation before they start work. So since this is your first day at work, I’m going to go over some procedures that we have at the restaurant here. Don’t be afraid of asking a stupid question – the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask, alright? We can’t afford anyone to get hurt here. This means going over general information, such as their duties, who they should go to for questions, their rights and responsibilities, and where to go for first aid. Train your employees for each specific task they will be doing. First, show them how to perform the task, and then have them demonstrate it to you. Ok, so first you want to get your right hand under the tray, find the balance point, secure it with your left hand, bend with your knees and use your legs. So this way you won’t strain your back. Do you want to give it a try? Sure. That’s it. Steady it. Excellent. Good job, Farah. Supervision means regularly walking by and checking on your employees to make sure they are doing their work properly, efficiently, and safely. Hey Kwok, the kitchen looks great, but you need to make sure you always have a dry towel on hand to handle the pots and pans. We don’t want you getting burned. Check on them frequently in the beginning, especially new workers, and then less often as you gain confidence in their work habits. If you see your employees doing something wrong, correct them. Saying nothing means you condone it. Hey Ryan, it’s good to see you keeping the equipment clean, but the slicer is really dangerous. You’ve got to unplug it every time before you clean it, alright? So you’re going to turn it off, then unplug it, then push the on again to make sure it’s locked out. Got it? Got it. And don’t rely on common sense, because common sense means different things to different people. Take the time to orient and train your employees on how to work safely, and then supervise them throughout, and you will have a safer and more productive workplace. For more information, visit

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