How safe is your venue? Counting the costs of workplace safety

When was the last time you had a work compensation claim? Have you looked in your first aid cabinet lately?


A lot of the time, in many of the kitchens I’ve seen, there are no Band-Aids, no burn cream and, frankly, very little of anything useful in a stressful safety situation.


Your staff are one of the most important elements of your business; you need to look after them – without them you have nothing! Take a look around your venue – a broken tile, frayed carpet, the leaking dishwasher – everything becomes a potentially dangerous hazard if not dealt with in a timely manner.


Occupational health and safety costs within the hospitality industry are in the millions of dollars annually and around 700 Australians die each year in the workplace. Don’t be one of the statistics!


Have you honestly asked yourself how safe your venue is? Have you got policies and procedures, maintenance logbooks, HACCAP registered suppliers and an incident report book? The safer your venue is the longer you will keep your staff, the happier they will be, and it will cost you less in the long run.


When designing a restaurant or café, an effective exercise is to think of the worst-case scenario and then ask, “Is this site safe? Would I work in this environment?”


If not, think about how to make changes. It may not be in your budget but it will work out cheaper in the long run and you could potentially save a life.


You must also ensure the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is supplied, up-to-date, working and readily available for all staff members to use. Staff training is also a huge part of OH&S in your venue; I’m sure you’ve all seen the WorkSafe ads.


A great idea is to start an Occupational Health & Safety Committee within your workplace, run by employees for the employees.


Staff report any issues to the safety officer of your venue and they then make a report and pass it on to the manager or the owner of the venue. The report will outline the issue and what is required to rectify the issue to make the venue safer. From there it is up to the owner to get the issue rectified.


Over the past 24 years I’ve seen my fair share of workplace injuries, people on compensation for cut fingers, sprains, burns, falling downstairs, back strains and the list continues to go on! All because the owners of each venue did not put policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of their team.


Staff are integral to the success of your venue, so take the time to audit your venue or get an independent auditor to go through your venue with a fresh pair of eyes to ensure the absolute safety of your staff and customers.


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