Slips and trips are a leading cause of injury at fast food restaurants across the country, and both restaurant employees and dining guests are at risk. Some slip hazards in restaurants could result in anything from a few bruises to serious injury or death. While such severe outcomes are unusual, the stakes are too high to ignore.

Most slip and trip accidents can easily be prevented with proper awareness of the risks and the right safety precautions.

While some slip hazards in restaurants are obvious, others can easily be overlooked. And with some new hazards created by the pandemic leading to an increase in accidents, now is a good time to review what you can do to keep floors and walkways safe for everyone at your restaurant.

Slip Hazards in Restaurants and Injury Prevention

There are common slip hazards in restaurants but falls and injuries can be minimized with the right precautions.

  • Spilled liquids cause slick wet spots on floors and need to be cleaned up right away.
  • Dirty floors with oil, grease, mud or grime also cause a hazard and need to be cleaned.
  • Floor wax and cleaners can make some surfaces extra slick and caution is needed.
  • Pooled water from drainage, leaks and condensation should be noted and wiped dry.
  • Snow and rain tracked inside make wet floor signs and frequent cleaning a must.
  • External ramps covered in snow and ice need to be cleared and de-iced.

Trip Hazards and Injury Prevention

Trip hazards are also common in restaurants, yet the proper precautions will minimize fall and injury risks.

  • Carpets, rugs and mats that bunch, curl or stick up need to be straightened, replaced or removed.
  • Broken or missing floor tiles are a trip hazard that should be repaired or replaced.
  • Cracked or lifted concrete slabs outside the building should be noted and repaired.
  • Sidewalks, landscaping and parking lots can also cause a trip and hazards should be minimized.
  • Cords and wires from appliances, phones and equipment need to be cleared from walkways.
  • Damaged stairs also cause a trip hazard and should be repaired as soon as possible.
  • Doorstops near entryways may cause a trip hazard and should be securely out of travel lanes.

Other Hazards Leading to Slips and Trips

Not all accidents involving slips and trips are the result of something wrong with the floor. Sometimes, the hazard that contributes to a fall or injury is higher up, making it important to consider the wider restaurant environment in which workers and guests need to move through.

  • Social distancing floor signage is necessary, but stickers need to properly installed and there should be a clear path around signs.
  • Walkways congested with boxes, furniture and clutter should be cleared up.
  • Open drawers and cabinets can also cause a hazard and should be kept closed.
  • Holiday decorations should be safely out of the path of travel.
  • Potted plants on the floor may cause a hazard and should be kept away from walkways.
  • Damaged or missing handrails can contribute to a fall and should be repaired or replaced.
  • Poor lighting has been known to cause preventable falls and should be fixed when needed.
  • Obstructed visibility of the path due to furniture or other items can cause a hazard and should be cleared where possible.
  • Inappropriate footwear may also contribute to more falls and employees should all be wearing slip-resistant shoes.

The hazards that contribute to slips and trips will vary as conditions at the restaurant change frequently. Make sure walkways are always kept clear, floors are kept clean and dry and new potential hazards are noted by management at the start of a new shift. Ensuring good communication with dining guests can also minimize risk.

As in any business, it’s not possible to eliminate all risks. But with the right awareness and precautions, the frequency and seriousness of slip hazards in restaurants can be minimized.