Historically, the summer months create a boom in business for the restaurant industry. Both tourism and temperatures rise, leading more people out of their homes and into local eateries. While this increase in customers is certainly welcome throughout the industry, it can also lead to more workplace injuries. We these thoughts in mind, Mitch Palazzo, Partner at CML offers a series of blog posts over the next several weeks with recommendations on both limiting incident occurrences and minimizing exposure on claims, with a focus on the restaurant industry. The following is the first of an 8 part series authored by Mitch who defends many Employers in the food service industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Check back for his weekly updates on important steps Restaurant owners can take to make sure that workers' compensation claims are avoided or mitigated.
More business over the busy summer months will often lead to an increase in hiring, as restaurant owners and operators look for extra help to meet customer demands. A strong and comprehensive training program can help reduce the number work-related injuries dramatically. It also provides an opportunity for the employer to communicate its expectations of newly hired employees on topics such a safety in the workplace and what to do if a work injury does occur.
In the restaurant industry, an important focal point is kitchen safety, as many of the more serious work injuries occur while employees are preparing food. Proper cutting techniques and use of kitchen appliances should be one topic of discussion. This training should occur when an employee is hired and be reinforced throughout the workforce periodically. After all, even an experienced chef can learn new techniques, or how to use new safer cutlery tools.
Management should also undergo periodic training seminars to refresh proper reporting procedures. Additional focus should be placed upon the proper treatment of employees who have returned to work in a modified duty capacity following an incident. It is imperative that the injured worker is advised of the job modifications and to whom he or she should report any difficulties with the return to work. This also makes the company’s expectations transparent and keeps the message consistent from the management team. Finally, these updated training sessions provide an opportunity to discuss, teach and implement new protocols and safety initiatives.
Overall, a well-rounded and periodic training program can limit work place injuries and create a smooth transmission for injured workers to rejoin the workforce.
For more information about reducing injuries and workers' compensation exposure in this industry, contact Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.627.9717.