The proactive approach. Enforcing proper food safety procedures is crucial to the well-being of your customers; however, keeping employees safe in the workplace is equally essential. Back-of-house workers face a variety of occupational hazards every day and resulting injuries aren’t only dangerous, they can eat into your profits. A variety of new products can help make the restaurant environment a little safer. We zero in on a few of them.
At the floor level: Wet floors are an obvious safety hazard for kitchen staff and servers. Concrete floors can become less of a danger with USA Packaging’s Alert Guard Invisible Sign Kits. A liquid formula is sprayed inside a stencil that contains either the phrase “Caution – Wet” or the international symbol for a wet floor. The liquid dries invisibly in about 30 minutes. Whenever the surface becomes wet again, it triggers a chemical reaction that causes the alert message to appear.
Employees working on wet floors also have a variety of slip-resistant shoes from which to choose. Shoes for Crews now offers high-style slip-resistant models, like the women’s Destiny or the men’s Predator, which could double as fashionable dress shoes. The Bistro clog by Crocs takes the popular beach shoe and moves it into the kitchen, by enclosing the shoe’s traditional vent holes and adding a special “Crocs lock” tread on the sole and heel.
On the cutting edge: Sharp blades are an integral part of every kitchen, and their risk can be minimized with the right equipment. For example, an optional blade removal system on the Hobart 3000 Series of slicers comes with a carrier that completely encloses and locks over the slicing blade. A twist of the handle and the blade comes out in the carrier, thus making for safer cleaning and sanitizing.
The Klever Kutter from San Jamar is a redesign of one of the most dangerous blades of all—the box cutter. The anchor-style design of the cutter recesses the blade to eliminate contact with fingers. Its dual stainless-steel blade provides longer life than single-edge box cutters and since it’s disposable, there’s no potential of injury from having to change blades.
For even more safety when working with blades or sharp objects, DayMark’s new MaxGuard glove combines a knit shell with additional puncture and cut protection on the palm and finger areas. A rubber coating on the palm provides a sure grip for washing dishes, picking up glass or even shucking oysters.
Everyday safeguards: Back injuries can occur when staffers have to move large, heavy ingredient bins. Rubbermaid’s new Safety Storage Cart aims to reduce bin tipping or dropping by providing a stress-free way to move the bins easily around the kitchen. The cart shelves, which can hold either one 200-pound or two 100-pound bins, have safety-positioning locators to secure the bins to the cart.
Even something as simple as a can opener may lead to finger injuries. Nemco’s CanPRO Compact can opener cuts along the lid’s outer seam, alleviating the jagged lid edges that can cut fingers. It also offers food safety benefits—the cutter never contacts the food inside the can, decreasing the chance of any metal slivers accidentally dropping into the can.
Not to leave front-of-house staff out of the safety picture, MFG Tray Company offers a line of fiber-reinforced polymer server trays that lessen arm and wrist strain. They’re lighter in weight than standard server trays and have a proprietary nonskid coating to reduce dish sliding.