21-Step Commercial Kitchen Safety Checklist: Check Your Score


When working in a commercial kitchen safety is super important and I can’t stress that enough. There are so many things that can go wrong from small cuts to serious burns and in this post, we are helping you to check that you have everything in order and a safe environment to work in!

In this commercial kitchen safety checklist, we have 4 main categories to monitor in your business and we are going through all of the topics to help you understand why it is crucial to follow these guidelines to ensure safe and sanitary operation.

Let’s take a closer look at these topics!

Equipment

When working in a restaurant there are many things that need to be kept up to date, regularly checked, and to be in order that a business can operate in complete safety.

Non-Slip Floor Mats

Non-slip or Anti-Fatuqe Floor Mats are important in places that need to be extra firm and non-slippery. These mats are usually used in walk-in fridges, near the countertops, and other slippery places that need extra hold.

Ergonomic Table Height

This is a tricky one when all the employees are of different heights, however usually in a restaurant, everyone has somewhat repeating jobs in a familiar location/countertop so it is wise to adjust the table ergonomically.

The difference isn’t so huge with ”regular height” but if a person is rarely tall or short it is extremely important to keep the height as good to them as possible.

If a person works on a countertop that is just a horrible height for them, it will cause painful neck, shoulder, back, and all kinds of pains.

Noticeable Exit-Signs

Another really important aspect both in the kitchen and in the dining hall. If a fire breaks lose or some other dangerous situation took place it needs to be clear where everyone can get out and fast.

It is always smart to keep in mind that you need to remain calm when a fire breaks loose because if everyone panics and starts running all around that can result in

unfortunate events.

Proper Equipment Training

The staff needs to have proper training in all of the equipment, especially with food processors, knife sharpening and handling, fryer operating, and gas appliances.

Probably everyone that has worked a respectable amount of time in the restaurant business have heard those horror stories of someone injuring themselves really badly with a food processor or starting a fire with a deep fryer.

I saw an incident once in one of the restaurants I used to work that a young trainee came with us for a couple of weeks and didn’t know the risk of doing this but he poured water into a hot deep fryer… Not the most enjoyable experience in my career to say the least but luckily no one got badly hurt. The point is, train the employees at least with the crucials!

Inspections Up To Date

There are mandatory inspections required by law and the different ones vary from country to country but there are also non-mandatory inspections that should be done nonetheless such as checking all the power cords from tears, checking that all the equipment work as it should, checking exhaust and ventilation systems among other things. You can’t ever be too up-to-date in the condition of the equipment.


Safety Supplies

In addition to commercial kitchen safety equipment, there are supplies as well that need to be in a kitchen so if an accident happens, it can be treated right away to prevent further damages.

First Aid Kit

First aid kits are required by law to be included in commercial restaurants and even if they wouldn’t it is important to have one and to check that there is everything needed.

Also, you should invest in one that doesn’t just have a couple of bandages and some lotion but a well-equipped one that haves lots of gauges, maybe skin-friendly glue, and all the essentials for quick and efficient treatments.

Fire Extinguisher

Another law required equipment that needs to be in close range of grills, ovens, and ranges.

You should always be up to date when the fire extinguisher expires so it will work if a fire breaks loose.

Cold Gel

Familiar to all chefs in the kitchens, the cold gel will ease the pain and irritation when you burn yourself but it won’t take away the agony from to upcoming days if the burn is bad…

No biggie chefs are used to burns, however a great thing to have for treatment!

Bandages

Another little thing that is a necessity in a commercial kitchen that is familiar to all chefs, especially beginners! I can’t count how many bandages I had to use when I was younger, and a couple of times in the older age as well…

Pain Killers

Pain killers are a great solution for accidents that won’t heal anything but it will ease the poor fellow who got himself in trouble, nonetheless a must-have in a kitchen!

Eye-Wash Station

This is really, really important to have and could be a matter of sight. There are dangerously strong chemicals and cleaners used in commercial kitchens such as ventilation hood cleaners and other highly toxic ones that shouldn’t ever end up in the eyes. If they do it’s a straight 20-minute washing session with the eye-wash kit.


Hygiene & Behavior

Proper behavior is an essential factor in order to run a safe working environment. That includes everyone who works there! Let’s see how to behave safely in a commercial kitchen.

Wash Food Properly

Washing the ingredients is kitchen work 101 but it’s never a waste to recap the important things. It’s one thing that the ingredients aren’t washed as carefully at home but in a professional restaurant, it should be carefully monitored. In the worst-case bad washing could lead to food waste in addition to complaints.

It is embarrassing when a customer complains that there is sand or mold in the salad and I personally have had occasions that I have been unprofessional as well when washing the ingredients. It’s a great back-to-earth call that immediately improves work efficiency and precision.

Accurate Food Labeling

Food labeling is one of the most important tasks in kitchen work! When a team labels the food well there is harmony within the kitchen but when there is an unknown container filled with a sauce that has no label, well it isn’t good for the budget either.

Proper Temperature Control

This step is a real safety hazard that should be checked every time when cooking meats. Easy enough we live in a time that a Commercial Thermometer haves a timer, automatic temperature watch, and alarm so this step should be hard at all. In addition, the fridge and freezer temperatures should be monitored daily so it is assured that the ingredients are in proper temperatures.

Warning When Going From Behind

This has caused so many accidents, injuries, and close calls that most restaurant workers are more than familiar with. When walking behind someone in a restaurant, especially In the kitchen it is smart to say ”behind” or something as simple so the person knows that someone is now behind me and he shouldn’t make sudden moves with a kitchen knife or when handling hot foods.

Proper Hand Washing

Hand washing will affect the hygiene of the entire kitchen and if the hygiene isn’t sanitary enough it will affect straight to the safety of food. Washing hands every time possible is really needed and it will keep you feel fresher at work as well.

There’s a downside to this, unfortunately when changing multiple gloves a day, washing hands 20-times a day, and wiping with moist cloths all day long there’s a good chance that your hands will dry up so remember to use lotion regularly. Just a helpful tip to keep you

in shape.


Appearance

Appearance affects more for hygiene, however, when hygiene isn’t good that brings serious safety hazards to the table so this isn’t less important when compared to other categories.

Safety Shoes

There’s no restaurant worker out there that doesn’t wear safety shoes, at least I hope so. Safety shoes help with slippery floors and keep your feet safe which is really important when working in a place where a knife can suddenly drop to your feet.

Changing safety shoes regularly when the bottom wears out is a great idea, and usually, the place of work offers a change pair every year so you shouldn’t worry about that.

Clean Clothes

Clean clothes show directly the professionalism of the workplace and if everyone walks around with dirty and stain-filled clothes where there are holes all around that wouldn’t be the best possible image for the public.

Dirty clothes are a safety hazard as well. Imagine a chef holding utensils in a super dirty apron, that would just be a recipe for food poisoning and bacteria contamination.

Proper Hat & Hair Control

Probably all human beings on earth have eaten a meal where they have found a long hair in there, that isn’t the most pleasant experience so wearing a proper hat or at least keeping hair in great control will minimize the chances of a customer getting that experience that we all are familiar of.

No Jewelry

This is a serious safety hazard and there have been cases where an earring or a piece of a bracelet has been stuck to a customer’s throat… This could end in the worst possible way so wearing jewelry isn’t something that anyone should do during work hours.

Wearing Gloves

Wearing gloves when using strong cleaners and chemicals is really important for health and safety. If you neglect this safety rule it won’t necessarily show right away when a toxic chemical touches your skin but it can slowly affect it and give it really bad rashes or even allergic reactions so wearing gloves, really good idea!

Conclusion

If you add these safety tips & tricks to your professional kitchen we are more than certain that the accidents and safety close calls will be reduced to the absolute minimum as it has in many more restaurants.

We really hope that this post gave you real value that you can actually use in your life, business, and where ever.

If you have some tips of your own feel free to share them in the comments for others to see and benefit from as well. Keep it safe out there!

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS and while I love working in a busy restaurant, I also enjoy more peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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