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It's no accident

It's not news to the foodservice industry, but a recent article from the Herman Trend Alert predicted that workplace accidents would be on the rise because employee turnover is on the rise. And when employee turnover is up, employee skill levels are down.

"When workers are well-trained, competent, and confident, they tend to make fewer mistakes and have fewer accidents. When workers know what they are doing, the injury rate is lower; depth of knowledge and experience reduces the risk of dangerous behavior. Conversely, when workers are engaged in unfamiliar tasks, are insufficiently trained, or are pushed to productivity levels beyond their comfort zone, exposure to accidents and injuries increases."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employees missed a whopping 1,465,300 days of productive time in one year as a result of on-the-job injuries. And according to the National Safety Council, nationwide cost to employers when an accident causes an employee to miss work is $69,872,600,000.

Our industry has always struggled with safety issues and we've all paid the direct and indirect costs of-job related injuries. Training is the answer, but most employers simply don't budget the time or the money. This shortsightedness is expensive and leads to turnover. (To find out what turnover is costing you, check out our Trade Secret "Put People First.")

A reasonable budget for training and retraining employees is 1% of total sales. Don't think of training as an expense... it's an investment. And remember, investments yield returns. If you can reduce accidents and injuries or simply prevent one employee from leaving, you will have paid for your training program.

A comprehensive safety training program should include certification-level food safety training for kitchen (if not all) employees, specific technical kitchen training, such as knife and equipment handling, and a general safety & security training for all employees. You can download a table of contents from our Employee Safety & Security Manual for additional training topics to include. There are numerous resources to complement your existing training program, including my own Trade Secrets customizable training manuals

And last but not least, we've created a quarterly Safety Audit to make sure that your responsibilities as a manager or owner aren't forgotten. Just awareness of these issues will enhance your performance and improve your safety record... and it wouldn't be by accident!

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