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Four Tips to Improve Workplace Safety

By: Skip Ray, Compass Corporate Safety Manager

Let me start with a story about safety in the workplace.

Once upon a time, in a kitchen not so different from your own, Miss Innocent was walking past a freezer, minding her own business.

Out of nowhere, her own manager, Mr. Iminahurry pushed open the freezer door, and hit Miss Innocent! Caught by surprise and knocked silly from the swinging door, Miss Innocent fell back and hit a nearby cart. The cart shifted, and Miss Innocent fell to the floor. A radio, which was sitting on the cart, fell off and hit Miss Innocent in the head. A few minutes later, Miss Innocent went to urgent care for a wrist strain, and a headache to boot!

I’ll be honest, being the “safety guy” makes me a little more cautious than others. I can be overly passionate about safety in the workplace but sometimes I can’t help myself! My wife laughs at me all the time when we go out because if I walk by any door anywhere that swings outward, I put my hand up in case someone is making their exit. Call me a wimp, or extra cautious, but I’ve been smacked in the face by a door (just like Miss Innocent) and wasn’t too excited about the results.

Safety in the Workplace is Important for Managers to Consider

So what can managers do to improve workplace safety? I’ve pulled together four tips you can use as a manager to help prevent workplace accidents. Injuries on the job aren’t always preventable, but there is plenty that we can do to avoid them.

Improve Workplace Safety with These 4 Tips

If you’re a manager, safety in the workplace begins with you. Follow these tips to protect your team.

1. Prevent Workplace Accidents with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment typically refers to clothing or other equipment that can be worn to minimize the risk of injury. Using PPE is an easy way to eliminate several potential hazards. While the type of PPE can vary across industries, all managers can help keep their associates safe and improve safety in the workplace by requiring PPE be used.

In foodservice, we place guards on our mixers and slicers. Anyone who uses knives or sharp objects, like a mandolin, are required to use a cut-resistant glove. When any of our associates handle hot objects, PPE’s like oven mitts, and steamer gloves are also used.  

2. Train Your Team to Use Proper Body Mechanics

Lifting heavy packages or pulling large equipment can cause injuries on the job. Train your teams to lift heavy items with the correct form and push large carts instead of pulling them.

3. Don’t Skimp on Safety Equipment

PPE can be pretty pricey, but can you actually put a price on keeping people safe? Our senior leadership team doesn’t think so, and neither do I. Investing in safety equipment helps everyone.

If you manage a team in foodservice (either as a large foodservice provider or a smaller, independent restaurant), here’s some of our favorite safety equipment to improve workplace safety and decrease the risk of injury:

  • Shoes for Crews: they’re slip-resistant and come in lots of styles.
  • Mighty Mat Slip-Resistant Floor Matting: sometimes having the right shoes isn’t enough to prevent a slip and fall injury. Use these to keep your associates on their feet and off the floor.
  • Tucker Safety Products: in our kitchens we use their form-fitting cut-resistant gloves and top-of-the-line burn protection. When worn properly, our associates are protected from hazards in the kitchen.

4. Educate Others in Your Organization on the Importance of Workplace Safety

What’s that saying? The more you know, the more you know? Too often safety in the workplace is viewed as just a regulatory requirement to pass an assessment or inspection. Meeting baseline requirements are important but miss the big picture: prioritizing workplace safety is simply the right thing to do.  

You can make workplace safety an even higher priority in your organization by talking about it often. Everyone wants to go home to their loved ones without stitches or broken bones. Remind your teams that if they see a wet floor, taking a few extra seconds to clean it is worth the effort. Help them understand their PPE and why it’s important. Encourage people to make multiple trips when moving heavy equipment if needed.

 

Looking for more from Morrison experts?

Check out these posts for useful content you can share with your team and keep an eye out for more workplace safety tips from Skip.

Join the Morrison Healthcare Family

Looking for meaningful work helping people? Do you want to marry your passions and serve others? Check out available team member or management opportunities to join the Compass One Healthcare and Morrison Healthcare family. We believe in the Power of Food to change lives and are proud of the opportunities we have each day to help people and serve alongside world-class clients.

Morrison is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA.

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