Step 1 - Incidents & Causes

Catering Case Study
Stockport School

School kitchen managers in Stockport are always looking at ways to improve the health and safety of their employees and recognised that they could be doing more to reduce slips, trips and falls.

Solutions SK Ltd, a Stockport Council company which organises school catering, took the opportunity to attend an HSE workshop. It helped them identify what could be contributing to slips, trips and falls and what simple, cost effective measures could help reduce them.

Solutions SK looked at changing their systems and procedures right away.

All cooks and catering managers got a presentation on slip, trip and fall hazards from the managers who attended the course and heard how the risks could be reduced simply by changing the way they mopped.

Doing it in two stages - mixing the detergent to the correct amount with hot water and then leaving it for a minute or so on the floor is more effective at removing grease than mopping it off immediately.

Area catering manager Linda Merrick said: "I wasn't convinced that the two stage mopping system would improve things but the effect was dramatic. The cooks were sceptical at first, as I was, so we asked them to give it a try once or twice a week to start with, but after seeing the results they are now doing it every day."

A survey identified that a number of school meals teams would benefit from slip-resistant overshoes. This included those staff working in kitchens with smooth flooring, typically found in older facilities, and those kitchens where slip accidents had occurred.

Dawn Unwin, the cook in charge of St Winifreds Primary School in Stockport said: "The two part cleaning process has really helped make the floors less slippery. The safety overshoes are brilliant. Before we had to watch our step in the kitchen to feel sure-footed."

Though the measures have only recently been introduced, the reduction in slips trips and falls has been dramatic with a fifty per cent fall on the previous year.

Solutions SK is also in the process of completing its own health and safety training DVD for school caterers which will form part of the induction process and ongoing training for catering employees.

Nic Cox, Managing Director of solutions SK said: "We place health and safety at the heart of everything we do and we continually look to improve our systems and procedures. I am impressed with the way the catering teams have embraced the changes."

Step 2 - Avoiding Accidents

Carrying hot oil

Emptying oil from deep fat fryers can be difficult. Make sure you and your staff follow the manufacturers instructions to do this work safely.

Food spill

Food or cooking spills are one of the main causes of slips in kitchens. We all need to be vigilant and clean up any spilt substance that could cause a hazard. Take a look in your workplace and see if you can improve how you work.

Water overflow or leak

An overflowing sink or a leak that causes water to drip onto the floor can create a serious slip hazard, especially on a smooth floor. Stop it from getting onto the floor in the first place: turn off taps and fix leaks quickly. Use drip trays or something similar as a temporary measure.

Floor in poor condition

It's easy to trip on damaged floors, if you spot an area of damage arrange for it to be fixed straight away, don't put off repairs. As a temporary measure, highlight the damaged area, report it and where possible keep staff away.

Trip hazards

An unexpected obstacle in your path can cause a serious trip and fall. People need a clear space to work, so make sure boxes, bags, cables and other obstacles aren't left hanging around. Storage should always be provided for incoming deliveries and bags.

Cleaning

Most slips happen on wet or dirty floors, anything that gets onto the floor needs to be removed quickly and effectively. Ensure cleaning happens at the right time and is carried out in the correct manner using the right products and equipment for the job.

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