The recently signed agreement between OSHA and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is aimed at reducing and preventing the risks of slips, trips, and falls, as well as cuts and burns. Since the restaurant industry provides many teens with their first work experience, the alliance is a chance to raise awareness of safety, according to David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
An eTool on the OSHA website says slips, trips, and falls often occur in serving areas while young workers are working around ice bins, in busy areas, on slippery or uneven floor surfaces, carrying dishes around blind corners or on stairs, or using a single door entry to and from kitchen areas.
To minimize the risks, OSHA suggests employers implement safe work practices, such as wiping up spills immediately, making sure young workers wear no-slip shoes and don't wear open toe shoes or high heels, decreasing overcrowding by adding supply stations or carts with supplies at convenient locations, providing adequate lighting, offering non-slip matting in areas that tend to be wet, and alerting workers to step-ups and step-downs with hazard tape or other warning signs.
To prevent burns among young workers, OSHA recommends employers provide proper training on equipment that may produce burns and make sure young workers use caution when preparing hot drinks, avoid removing coffee pots until the coffee is through being dispensed, use trays to carry hot plates, and protect their hands by using a waiter's cloth or hot pads or oven mitts when carrying hot items.
Overall, the alliance seeks to protect the health and safety of all restaurant industry workers by reducing the risks and helping workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities. Included are the following outreach and communication goals:
- Develop information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards, along with ways to communicate such information to employers and workers, via print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA's and ROC-United's websites.
- Speak, exhibit, or appear at OSHA's or ROC-United's conferences, local meetings, or other events.
- Share information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding ROC-United's good practices or effective approaches through training programs, workshops, seminars, and lectures or any other applicable forum developed by the participants.
- Develop and disseminate case studies on successes and lessons learned within the restaurant industry and publicize their results.
The agreement is effective for two years.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
December 19, 2011
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