Since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic many food service employers have created or amplified their takeout and delivery operations, rather then having customers dine-in. With the increase in dine-out options, some safety concerns have risen for restaurant staff. Follow the tips below to avoid the hazards that come along with the increase in takeout’s and delivery’s.
Delivery staff should:
- Practice Safe Driving Techniques – Drive at a safe speed and keep proper distance between you and the car in front (at least 3 seconds) and stay off the phone! Read Driving Safety:Protecting On the Go Employees, for more driving safety tips!
- Conceal cash – Keep any cash in your car hidden while out making deliveries or picking up food from the restaurant.
- Wear Proper Footwear - Preferably a slip-resistant sole in good condition.
- Using Handrails – Especially on steps, stairs, and slopes.
- Maintaining “3-points-of-contact” when getting out of vehicles - Hold onto the door or door frame, to not lose your balance and support yourself. Once you are out of the vehicle then, pick up the items from inside the car.
- Check the address - Make sure you are not delivering to a vacant house or building.
- Park as close to the delivery location as possible.
- Carry a flashlight for emergencies.
- Be aware of lighting changes - When bringing curbside orders out or deliveries, it is important employees are aware that it will take a few seconds for their eyes to adjust from indoor to outdoor lighting. Because of this, employees should slow down as they go inside or outside until their eyes adjust.
- Placing signs, such as “watch the step” or “floor is wet”, to remind employees of hazards in indoor/outdoor transitional areas where seeing is difficult is helpful.
Even with the increase in dine-out services, the most expensive source of workers’ compensation claims still remains to be slips/trips/fall and lifting exposures, followed closely by lifting injuries. Below are some tips on how to prevent
For preventing slip/trip/fall injuries employees should:
- Create Good Housekeeping Habits – Slip/Trips/Falls are most commonly caused by wet or greasy floors, so it is imperative to reduce spills and wet spots wherever possible.
- Reduce spills and wet spots – With employees and customers coming in and out of the establishment during takeout/ delivery, it is imperative to constantly dry the floors and post signs where areas may be wet. This also applies to outdoors! Water outside can form ice and lead to dangerous conditions. Read Snow Shoveling Employee Safety Tips!
- Focusing on the task – Uneven walking surfaces, sloped surfaces and clutter lead to a lot of these injuries. By staying off your phone and aware of what’s around, employees can avoid injury.
- Maintaining Good Lighting
- Not Running - Especially on wet or greasy surfaces.
With many employees carrying heavy loads for deliveries, lifting injuries are also a point of concern. They are only the 2nd most expensive type of restaurant comp claim, but the leading cause of back injuries in restaurants.
Lifting injuries stem from poor lifting techniques, lifting too much weight, and overuse. A few tips on safe lifting techniques are;
- Place your feet shoulder width apart for good balance.
- Bend your knees to pick up low items, do not bend at the waist. Read 4 Tips to Prevent Injury while Manual Lifting!
- Hold the object as close to your body as you can.
- Pivot your feet when you need to place something to the side; do not twist your back.
- Use mechanical devices whenever possible and when you use carts, dollies, hand trucks, etc.…. push them, do not pull.
- Store items off of the floor so it takes less effort to retrieve them.
- Try to avoid lifting heavy items above shoulder height.
For assistance on any employee safety topic please contact Ray Sullivan.