As restaurants return to work with limited outdoor seating, there are a few things that employers should keep in mind to prevent employee injuries. Since slips, trips and falls account for 25% of all workers' compensation claims, we have outlined some of most common hazards and solutions to avoid an employee accident and possible workers' compensation claim!
Hazard: With new makeshift outdoor spaces being created for restaurants to reopen, it is important for employers to take the time to configure the space to limit exposure to fall hazards.
Solution: Employers should meet with their safety committee to organize their outdoor space in the most efficient manner possible. With the new set-up, employers should develop a "road map" directing employees to bring food outdoors down ramps and curb cuts rather than steps.
Hazard: Some surfaces, especially grass, can be incredibly slippery when wet and lead to slip, trips and falls that result in employee injuries and workers' compensation claims.
Solution: Do not allow employees to run.
Solution: Because employees will be working on a variety of surfaces both indoors and out, consider providing everyone with a slip/resistant shoe to cut down on the risk of a fall.
Hazard: Parking lots and other outdoor areas being used for temporary seating.
Solution: Highlight holes or dips so employees and customers alike don’t step into something that can hurt them.
Solution: Rope off areas with parking curbs so that people don’t trip over them.
Solution: When using parking lots for dining areas, dry up any oil spots that may become slick if they get wet.
Hazard: Employees adjusting from indoor to outdoor lighting.
Solution: When employees are going in and out during daylight hours, warn them that it will take a few seconds for their eyes to adjust to the different lighting.
Solution: Make sure to tell employees to slow down as they go inside or outside until their eyes adjust.
Solution: You can also put up signs to remind them of hazards in these areas such as “watch the step” or “floor is wet”.
Hazard: Weak railings.
Solution: When using an outdoor space with a railing, OSHA says that the railing must support a 200 lb concentrated load in a downward or outward direction.
For a list of the most common restaurant workers' compensation claims, check out our article, The Leading Restaurant Workers' Compensation Claims.