How To Build a Restaurant Safety Plan

Jul 25, 2023

Originally published by Poached with contribution from HR Annie Consulting. Find the original article here.

Give Your Team the Confidence To Stay Safe—Here’s Our Guide on Building a Restaurant Safety Plan

Managing a restaurant is like managing a team of marathon runners—only those runners handle fire and sharp things on wet and slippery surfaces. Accidents and injuries are inevitable, so having a thorough and resourceful safety plan is vital.

Ideally, you already have a safety plan that’s easily accessible and well-used. But, like any other formal procedure—creating or updating a safety plan can easily be put off, then forgotten about altogether (until OSHA comes knocking).

Don’t wait another minute. A safety plan gives your team the confidence to act and can help everyone maintain a safer work environment.

To help you get started, the team over at HR Annie Consulting shared their knowledge on building a safety plan.

What Is a Safety Plan?

Simply put, a safety plan is the collection of documents, policies, reporting procedures, and training established by employers to prevent accidents and injuries and maintain a safe workspace.

“The safety program ensures employees and the employer are doing everything necessary to protect themselves and others from hazards and significant risks, and to comply with Federal and State OSHA standards,” HR Annie Consultants said.

Think of your plan as a way to set you and your team up for success.

By creating processes that you’re comfortable with, you’re supporting your team with the information, tools, and training to stay safe and do their job confidently.

You’re also decreasing impulsive or knee-jerk reactions, which can escalate dangerous situations.

“The goal of a safety program is to help employees to recognize potential hazards in the workplace and how to report them before an injury can occur,” HR Annie Consultants shared. “And, if/when an accident, injury, or emergency should occur, you also want employees to be aware of what they need to do and who they need to report information to in those situations.”

5 Benefits of Implementing a Safety Plan

  1. Higher employee productivity & engagement
  2. Better employee attendance & lower turnover
  3. Fewer Worker’s Compensation costs
  4. Cultivating a healthy work environment
  5. Increase employee job satisfaction

“Ensuring compliance creates a work environment where employees feel safe and comfortable,” HR Annie Consultants said. “Employers who have a rich safety program have higher productivity, lower turnover, better employee attendance, and engaged employees.”

Is a Safety Plan Required by Law?

To comply with OSHA regulations, restaurant employees must have a safety plan or program.

“Depending on the state that a business is located in, there may be additional requirements along with the federal OSHA standards and requirements,” HR Annie Consultants explained. “For example, Oregon employers with more than ten employees must have a safety committee.”

Regulations can be based on location and business type, so make sure to research state and county requirements for restaurants.

What To Include in Your Restaurant Safety Plan

To get you started, HR Annie Consultants provided a quick list of some items a safety plan should cover. As mentioned earlier, there may be more to consider depending on your business location.

A Safety Program Should Include, but Is Not Limited To:

  • Injury and Illness Prevention Program Guide (IIPP)
  • Safety committee meeting
  • Safety policy statement
  • Hazard identification process and reporting
  • Inspections process
  • Infectious disease protocol and policies
  • Accident/Incident reporting process and accident investigation
  • Emergency response protocol
  • Safety training
  • Record keeping

Additionally, while it’s not required, it can be a good idea to include your processes for acknowledging those contributing to a safer work environment and the disciplinary actions that may be required of those who do not comply with the safety plan.

For instance, you might require additional training hours for employees with deficient safety performance.

Gathering all the information you need to build a comprehensive Safety Program can be a chore, but it is possible to do it independently. Be sure to seek guidance from OSHA and your state safety and health administrations.

Alternatively, employers can find guides and templates online. This can be a huge time-saver and an excellent option for those who want to ensure they cover all their bases.

HR Annie Consultants offer their own Safety Program Mega Toolkit that provides the guiding framework for implementing a Safety Program and covers all of the necessary items listed above.

How To Use Your Restaurant Safety Plan

Once you have a developed safety plan, don’t just stop there. Put it into action.

“All employees should be trained annually on the safety program and safety procedures,” HR Annie Consultants shared. “Employers should provide the safety plan to employees and new hires as well as making it available for quick access.”

Training is also essential. You should frequently hold training sessions with your employees on your safety procedure to ensure everyone is familiar with the set plan and is comfortable with the policies.

And as mentioned earlier, acknowledging safe behavior or applying consequences for unsafe behavior is a good way to reinforce the importance of the safety plan.

Whether you’re just starting to build a robust safety program or you’re looking at revamping an older one—HR Annie Consulting can be a great resource!

They provide customized guidance to help their clients develop and maintain a safe work environment specific to their industry, business size, and location.

Additionally, they have a great hybrid HR Management Crash Course coming up this August 15th and 16th, where employers can gain valuable tools to build a more compliant and inclusive workspace.

As always, Poached is here to help you find and hire skilled hospitality employees—so you can put that safety plan to use!