Restaurant Safety Tips and Best Practices

Topics: Loss Control

Restaurants present a multi-faceted hazard and injury risk; for employees, there is the possibility of slip and fall incidents, cuts from food preparation, burns from deep fryers or ovens, or injuries from lifting boxes of food and supplies. There is also a risk to your commercial property, such as fire hazards. For customers, risks involve issues like slip and fall incidents from a defective parking lot, a wet floor or sudden change in elevation.

Best Practices for Restaurant Safety 

By following safety and loss control best practices, however, your restaurant can help avoid these incidents. Below are some safety tips and best practices to keep in mind for your restaurant.

1. Slip and Fall Protection

Slips and falls account for a substantial amount of workplace accidents and injuries. Wet and slippery floors due to spills (like grease/oil from cooking, water, etc.) and lack of housekeeping can cause slips and falls. The same goes for restaurant patrons – slips can occur due to rainwater or snow accumulating around entrances and other high traffic areas. To help avoid this, here are a few tips to consider:

Maintain stairways free of clutter

  • Eliminate any exposed metal edges on stair treads, especially stairs susceptible to grease accumulation.
  • Ensure slip-resistant mats with beveled edges are placed in wet areas.
  • Designate separate, color-coded floor mops for the front and heart of the restaurant.
  • Train employees to store all floor mats vertically and tightly rolled when not in use.
  • Train employees to immediately clean up spills or place a wet floor sign over the area if the spill cannot be immediately cleaned; any debris should be cleaned up immediately. Formal communication and action procedures should be implemented to make sure spills, broken glass and other mishaps are attended to by trained staff immediately.
  • Proper cleaning-chemical selection is critical. Train employees who mop floors on proper soap-to-water ratios and especially on the importance of using the soap dispensers correctly.
  • Degreasers should be used for areas in and close to culinary production areas.
  • Set a mandatory slip-resistant shoe policy. Enforce it without exception.

2. Cuts and Strains Protection


Cut-related injuries are a risk for any restaurant employee. For example, slicing and baking machines without proper guards in place can lead to cuts, amputation and even death. Cuts from broken dishes and glasses can also occur. To help avoid these injuries, remember to:
  • Use designated buckets to dispose of broken glass, bottles and plates – do not use regular trash. - Debris in buckets should be placed in a cardboard box and taped shut before being taken to dumpster.
  • Make cut gloves available for staff that use knives or slicing equipment to prepare food. The use of cut-resistant gloves should be mandatory and enforced.
  • Train employees in best knife practices: which knife to use, how to use it and proper maintenance/storage.
  • Store plastic wrap below eye level in all kitchens.
  • Beware of cuts while hand washing slicer blades and knives in a sink topped with suds. Reaching in with hands unprotected can result in running a hand right into the sharp edges. Hand wash knives separately.


  • Provide lifting aides such as dollies, carts or another employee when possible.
  • Train employees to understand that objects over 50 pounds require a two-person lift.
  • In coolers, freezers and storage racks, ensure that heavier products (over 35 pounds) are stored at mid-body heights.

3. Burn Protection

Hot surfaces, deep fryers and hot grease can lead to severe burns. Remember to:
  • Provide access to proper hot food handling protection: hand towels, burn mitts, etc.
  • Provide access to first-aid materials, including a burn kit that is properly stocked at all times.
  • Require employees to wear slip-resistant, closed-toe shoes that they can easily get their feet out of while working in the kitchen in the event of a hot liquid spill.

4. Protect Against Chemical Exposure

Exposure to cleaning, disinfecting and maintenance chemicals can cause respiratory problems, blindness, internal organ damage, and irritate the skin and eyes. Read and understand the Safety Data Sheet for each product and wear proper Personal Protective Equipment when called for. Remember to store chemicals in designated storage areas below eye level.

AmTrust Loss Control

Visit the Loss Control section on our website for more information, and click here for access to a wealth of restaurant-related loss control resources . Check out this video about AmTrust’s a wide range of loss control information and resources.

Amtrust Financial’s review of restaurant class codes reveal average claims costs vary widely across different injuries, lost time, seasonality, geographical and restaurant types. For more information, download our report today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

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