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Slips and Falls

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hello RFMA members,

Today's post is on Risk Management dealing specifically with slips and falls within the restaurants. There are numerous available resources online for comprehensive information on how to avoid falls. This article will deal with only some of the easiest and least expensive methods in prevention. In today's litigious environment, it benefits everyone to minimize the liability associated with slips and falls. As we all know, a quick slip by a customer or employee can cost thousands in legal and compensation expenses and expose the restaurant to higher insurance premiums. With winter approaching, or here in some areas, this is generally the highest risk time for falls. Some simple items to implement are as follows:

- Floor mats. The most effective and cheapest way to remove moisture from guests entering the building is by placing entrance mats down in all doorways. Make sure mats are kept clean and ensure they have the proper high-traction backing to prevent slippage. For kitchen or other high moisture areas, use non-slip matting. Check with your local janitorial service for OSHA approved products.

- Floor cleaning chemicals. Never use a wax or polish of any kind to clean floors. It's generally recommended to use an enzyme type "grease eating" chemical which, when used properly, will remove a large portion of grease from the floor surface. It must be applied correctly as it's application is different from most floor cleaning chemicals. Use only NFSI (National Floor Safety Institute) certified cleaning products.

- Proper floor cleaning techniques. Ensure the staff or cleaning crews are educated in the floor cleaning process. Too many times I have seen the same mops which are used to clean the BOH being used in the FOH which simply transfers the grease from the back to the front. Use different mops for different areas. Color coding the mops may help in this area.

- Purchase several "Caution: Wet Floor" signs and place them strategically in high traffic/moisture areas to alert customers of potential slip areas. This will also keep the staff focused on these areas and will assist fast clean ups.

- Repair torn or buckled mats and/or carpet immediately.

- Require all employees to wear non-slip footwear.

There are numerous RFMA vendors that can assist with minimizing the slip/fall liability within your restaurants. I suggest reaching out and having them audit a few facilities for their recommendations. It should be a free service but could potentially save thousands of dollars.

Thanks for your time.

Dover and out.

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