Commercial kitchens can be very dangerous environments and the risk of workers sustaining injuries cannot be completely eliminated. However, by vigilantly engaging with health and safety guidelines, employers can take steps to negate workplace risks faced by their employers and protect themselves from compensation claims in the process.
Employers must ensure that the following three measures are taken in order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff in the workplace:
• All staff are made fully aware of health and safety practices so that they understand which steps they need to take in order to protect themselves and other workers from injury
• The kitchen is sensibly arranged so that accidents are less likely to happen. Everything should be kept clean and tidy to prevent falling objects or trip hazards
• All necessary training is provided to employees so that they understand the safest way to perform their role in the kitchen
As you can see, preventing injuries in the workplace is very straightforward; no PhDs are required to keep employees safe from needless injury. Employers in the UK are given an enormous amount of health and safety guidance and the relevant legislation makes it very clear what is required of employers in order to fulfil their legal duty of care to take every reasonably practicable step to protect employees in the workplace. There is also a huge amount of support provided to employers by hospitality and catering trade associations. Therefore, if employers take their health and safety obligations seriously there really is no excuse for them to be caught out having negligently failed to discharge their legal duty of care to protect employees from harm.
Any business with more than 4 employees must draw up a ‘statement of safety policy’ which lists and evaluates all of the risks which are to be found in the workplace (a commercial kitchen in this instance). Controls for these risks should also be listed and then all findings should be communicated to members of staff. If they do this properly, they will have complied with the three points mentioned earlier and will therefore be in a good position to protect employers from harm and ensure that their business can focus on serving customers without having the distraction of dealing with compensation claims from injured employees.
It is crucial that employers take a proactive approach to health and safety otherwise they could end up with employees suffering dermatitis, serious burns, broken bones, severed fingers, deep cuts and many more horrible injuries. If employees suffer injuries it is not only likely to make cause reputational damage and cause insurance premiums to go up but it will also make it difficult to attract quality staff in the future. No employer wants to have to deal with compensation claims, which makes you wonder why so many shirk their health and safety responsibilities.
If you have been injured following an accident working in a kitchen for which you were not to blame, you could be entitled to claim compensation. If you do decide to make a personal injury claim, make sure you appoint a solicitor with plenty of experience of work injury compensation.
Tim Bishop is senior partner of specialist personal injury solicitors, Bonallack and Bishop. For more information about how to make a work accident claim, visit their specialist websites at http://www.how-to-claim-compensation.co.uk or http://www.workaccidentsolicitors.co.uk or call them directly on 01722 422300.