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What risks do food services involve? What measures can be taken to minimise these risks?

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What to do in a work accident in the food service industry in Australia?

Work in the food service industry can be physically taxing and under pressure. Working in the food industry typically entails contact with the public, which could raise the chance of experiencing harassment and violence.

Risks to health and safety can be very high in the food services sector. The food services sector encompasses establishments that prepare and serve food, including restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars, and fast-food restaurants. They may also be a component of accommodation services, such as a hotel restaurant. (Risks to guests’ and employees’ health and safety can exist in the accommodation services. The work may be physically exhausting and under pressure, increasing the risk of accidents. Additionally, employees interact with the public, which may raise the possibility of violence and harassment.)

The following are typical risks in the food service sector:

  • hot liquids, objects, or surfaces,
  • food preparation tasks that increase the risk of burns, cuts, and fires
  •  manual handling tasks like lifting and carrying heavy objects,
  • repetitive movements,
    chemical exposure, such as from cleaning products,
  • handling electrical equipment and appliances,
  • exhaustion, especially from shift and night work,
  • exposure to workplace aggression, harassment, and bullying,
  • stress from problems including excessive job demands and a lack of management assistance, which can result in mental health problems.

The following is a list of example control measure examples for typical hazards and risks in the food services sector. You must implement safety controls that are tailored to the dangers present in your job.

To remove the risk associated with manual handling, for instance, the following control methods can be used:

  • ensure workspace heights are adequate to limit the requirement for awkward postures,
  • restructure jobs to minimise manual handling,
  •  modify the design or layout of work areas to eliminate or minimise manual handling,
  •  for instance, by introducing mechanical aids, distributing manual handling responsibilities among employees to lessen the strain from repetitive motions,
  • and offering training on proper manual handling techniques.

One of the most frequent risks in the food service industry is “slips, trips, and falls,” which can be avoided by using the following techniques:

  • keep surfaces and floors clean, and fix any damage,
  • offer non-skid mats,
  • use cautionary signs to alert workers to damp or possibly slippery surfaces and floors,
  • ensure that equipment is properly stored and used,
  • make sure surfaces and floors are maintained dry and spotless,
  • make sure the personnel are wearing non-slip shoes.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance payment to the employee, if you are injured at or in the course of work or become ill due to your work. Slip and fall accidents are also considered as injury. In Australia, every employee is covered under the Worker’s Compensation Scheme. If you have had an accident like this at work, you may be entitled to compensation. You can find out what your situation is and what rights you can claim from work injury lawyers.

So, what control measures can be taken for burns, fires and cuts?

  • design the workplace so that workstations can, whenever possible, be placed away from heat sources,
  • for deep fryers, utilise long-handled baskets and automatic food lowering systems,
  • use cautionary signs around hot objects, surfaces, and materials,
  • make sure that employees are properly trained to use the equipment safely,
  • ensure that all tools and equipment are maintained and utilised correctly,
  • develop emergency plans that cover what to do in case of a fire,
  • make sure the first aid supplies are readily available and the first aid personnel are plainly identified.

How to prevent work-related violence, aggression, harassment and bullying in the food service industry?

  • control consumer expectations and have enough workers available during busy periods,
  • make sure that access is adequately regulated,
  •  make sure there is adequate illumination both inside and outside,
  • restrict the quantity of money and other items kept on the property,
  • verify that nothing dangerous can be thrown or used to injure someone,
  • put up signs to show that violence and aggressiveness are not tolerated in the workplace,
  • provide a positive, respectful work culture.

Harassment, persistent offence, humiliation, social exclusion, aggressive behaviour, sexual harassment, and cyberbullying are just a few examples of what is considered workplace bullying. Bullying and harassment have an adverse effect on the mental health of the person by causing distress and low self-esteem, which may result in psychological injury. If you believe that workplace bullying caused psychological injury to you, you may be eligible for compensation benefits and a lump sum payout.

What precautions should be taken to avoid psychological injuries in the workplace?

  • clearly define workers’ roles,
  • give employees the tools, knowledge, and instruction they need to do their jobs safely,
  • reviewing workloads and deadlines with employees on a frequent basis,
  • ask workers if anything is stressing them and how it can be addressed,
  • support workers who may be more at risk of workplace psychological injury,
  • give employees a contact person to talk to about their issues,
  • cultivate a culture of positivity and respect at work where bullying is not permitted,
  • send workers to employee assistance programmes and other mental health and wellbeing resources.

Workplace injuries are not simply classified as physical. Workers can also be psychologically injured. For this reason, if you think you have experienced such a situation, you may have the right to demand psychological injury workers compensation. You can request an assessment of your situation regarding this matter.

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