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Where Safety Trips Up in Restaurants

kitchen 5While many people assume that most slip-and-fall accidents in a restaurant happen in dining areas, the truth is they are far more likely to occur in the kitchen.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, although on average about one million slip-and-fall accidents occur in guest areas of a restaurant each year, more than three times as many happen in the kitchen work area.

Because the numbers are so high in the kitchen, it is essential that we do what we can to bring them down. But before we can do that, we must know what is causing most of these slips and falls. Among the most common causes are the following:

  • Moisture on the floor. By the end of a shift, liquid and food spills are frequently found on kitchen floors; airborne grease and oil have settled on the floor; and ice buildup from freezers and ice makers melts, contributing additional moisture to the floor.
  • Objects on the floor. In the rush to get food prepared, unbound electric cords may end up on the floor. Very often food crates are brought into the kitchen during the shift and then left in walkways and aisles.
  • The floor itself. Quarry tiles are commonly installed in commercial kitchens. These floors have a smooth, nonporous surface that can be cleaned quickly. However, they can also become very slippery when wet, especially if no finish has been applied to the floor. Further, the tiles can become cracked, worn, or dislodged over time, or floor items such as drainage coverings may be sitting incorrectly or missing altogether. All of these factors can cause slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Poor housekeeping. Many commercial kitchen floors are not cleaned adequately. Often they are mopped, even though mops have been shown to spread soils instead of removing them. Also, too much cleaning solution or too little cleaning solution may be used to clean the floor. Too much can remove finish that has been applied to the floor to make it more slip resistant. Too little will not remove the buildup of oil and grease.
  • Rental mats. Rental mats are usually not effective in preventing slip-and-fall accidents in commercial kitchens. They are often not thick enough to capture and trap moisture and soils. Plus, many rental mats are light. During the work shift, they can lose position or curl, making them a hazard. The result is that moisture and contaminants build up on shoe bottoms, leading to a slip-and-fall accident.
  • Small and busy. Restaurants make their money in the dining room. To accommodate more patrons, space is often taken from the kitchen to make the dining rooms larger. But small, busy commercial kitchens with people walking with trays and plates of food lend themselves to all types of accidents, including slip-and-fall accidents.

Those are the most common causes of slip-and-fall accidents. Now let us say a bit more about rental mats, because these are an unexpected contributor to slips and falls. Restaurant owners tend to select them because they are picked up regularly and replaced with new, fresh mats. This would seem the ideal solution to the problems of traction and moisture found in a commercial kitchen. The trouble is, many times, these mats are not designed to be used in a commercial kitchen. Installing the wrong mats creates a potentially hazardous situation for restaurant workers.

To eliminate this hazard, Crown Matting Technologies offers food service mats that are explicitly designed for use in a commercial kitchen should be purchased from a supplier. With these mats, either the mat absorbs moisture and traps debris or the moisture and debris fall beneath the walk area. Either way, the kitchen is made safer, helping to reduce the number of slip-and-fall accidents occurring in commercial kitchens.

For more information on food service mats, contact Crown Matting Technologies at 800-628-5463 or send us an email.