Restaurants and Takeaways are all different shapes and sizes; as such, stock storage areas can often be tight on space, and care needs to be taken when packing or unpacking.
Serious injuries can occur when unloading and storing stock in the storage area due to improper lifting techniques. But, by maintaining a clean and organised storage area safely, you can prevent possible injuries.
Employer’s Liability Risk
Two main problems arise when an employee suffers an injury at work.
Not only could they be absent from work and cause you to be short-staffed, but the business could also be held negligent and faced with a significant Employers Liability claim under your Restaurant or Takeaway Insurance policy.
Product’s Liability Risk
Food safety standards are vital in the restaurant and fast food industry; reputations can be severely damaged on receipt of poor online reviews or, worse still, regulatory fines.
An extension of this problem is claims from diners who have suffered illness (or claim to have suffered an illness) as a result of the food or product they have consumed from your premises.
These types of claims will typically be covered under the Products Liability section of your Takeaway or Restaurant Insurance policy, but many of these issues begin in the storeroom.
Safe Storage and Stacking Techniques
Proper storage and stacking of items will help you locate products safely and efficiently, as well as maintain an accurate inventory of your stock. The following tips can help to
- Stack heavier items on the lower shelves to reduce the need to reach over your head.
- Place items that you and other staff members frequently use on shelves at waist level to reduce reaching.
- The oldest product or anything already opened should be placed in the front, ensuring that it is utilised first.
- Store products with the label facing up or facing towards the front of the storage shelf.
- Keep storage areas clean. Not only does this help fight foodborne illness, but an organised storage area also makes it much easier to find the product you need.
- When you open a product, it is essential to label it with the date it was opened.
Learning How to Lift Correctly
Another critical area of Employer’s Liability claims is injuries to staff while lifting.
To reduce risk, new and existing staff must be fully trained in safe lifting techniques. Once training has been completed, you should record this carefully within your staff records.
The following suggestions may help you compile your training plan:
Pick up and set down a load without injury by following these steps:
- Bring the load as close to your body as possible before lifting.
- Push up with your legs instead of your back by bending your knees. Keep your head up and your back straight.
- If you need to turn, shift your feet instead of twisting your body at the waist.
- Keep the load directly in front of you, with your elbows close to your body, when walking with the load.
- When setting the load down, bend at your knees to slowly lower the load. Watch out for your fingers and toes.
Follow these general safety tips to reduce the risk of injury when stacking and storing products:
- Use a stool or ladder to access items on high shelves to avoid reaching over your head.
- Separate large boxes into smaller loads, and carry them one at a time.
- Use handrails when travelling on the stairs and carrying items.
- Use a hand trolley when moving large items. If available, forklifts or pallet jacks work well to help transport large loads.
- Wear gloves to prevent getting wood slivers or nail puncture wounds.
- Never attempt to carry anything without examining the path you will take. If there are obstacles in the way, remove them before continuing.