Health and Safety in Catering Industry is a cause for concerns. Accidents in restaurants, sandwich bars, cafes pubs, take-aways and many other types of catering businesses are on the increase. As such we need high level of safety in catering industry.

Principal Hazards and Controls in Catering Industry

Health and Safety in Catering Industry is a cause for concerns. Accidents in restaurants, sandwich bars, cafes pubs, take-aways and many other types of catering businesses are on the increase. As such we need high level of safety in catering industry. Discussed below are the principal hazards and controls in the catering industry for all stakeholders.


Principal among the risks that employees face in the course of work in the catering industry includes:

Slip, Trip and Fall

According to UK HSE, the most common cause of non-fatal injury in the hospitality industry in 2016/7 was slip, trip and fall. They contributed to about 29% of the total non fatal injury recorded in the year under review.

Due to several activities and processes within the catering and hospitality industry, the likelihood of spillage is high. This ranges from water, cooking oil, drinks etc. in addition to trailing cables, food materials and cooking equipment unsafely place on the floor is a source of trip hazard.

However, key precautionary measures are proposed below:

hazards and control in hospitality industry
Signage providing cautions for wet floor
  • Signs for slippery areas;
  • Danger tape to highlight any potential trip hazards, such as steps or uneven flooring;
  • Non-slip footwear;
  • Signs to signal any recent spills;
  • Adequate lighting;
  • A process in place that has spills tended to immediately

Cut and Laceration Injuries

Cut and lacerations are another injuries highly recorded in the catering and hospitality industries. The possible source of cut injury include the use of sharp object mechanically or manually in preparation of food. Cut injuring can arise from handling of kitchen knives, use of graters, grinders, handling of broken bottle etc.

Although this is a source of concern, but however employees can minimize the risks of cut injuries with measures below

  • Use and enclosed grinding machine to keep hands off sharp part of the machine
  • Keep knives sharpened and let other staff know when knives are newly sharpened.
  • Use the appropriate size knife for the job.
  • Always use a cutting board. They prevent objects from slipping while being cut which could lead to injury.
  • Keep knives out of dish tubs/sinks
  • Carry knives with the point down and the cutting edge away from your body.
  • Store knives properly in racks or knife sheaths close to areas where they are used.
  • Clean knives immediately after use.
  • At all times, be in control of your knife blade, your body, and the food you are cutting.
  • Never attempt to catch a falling knife, allow it to fall
  • Sweep and pack off broken bottles carefully and discard same in the designated waste bin
  • Employees should wear cutting gloves if available

Burns from oven or boiling liquids

hazard and controls in the catering industry
Employees in the restaurant

These are recurring incidents in the hospitality and catering industry. Many times this has resulted to fatality severe injury or fatality. Different degrees of burns can have been reported due to catering and hospitality industry incident. Nevertheless, the risks can be mitigated with the implementation of the following measures.

  • Wear protective gloves or mitts when handling hot pots or cooking with hot, deep-frying oil.
  • Wear non-skid shoes to prevent slipping on wet or greasy tile floors.
  • Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by sliding a lid over the top of the container.
  • Never carry or move oil containers when the oil is hot or on fire.
  • Avoid reaching over or across hot surfaces and burners; use barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
  • Read and follow directions for proper use of electrical appliances.
  • Keep first-aid kits readily available.
  • Make sure at least one person on each shift has first-aid training.
  • Keep fire extinguishers accessible and up to date.

Musculoskeletal Disorder

Many activities within the industries involve manual handling and lifting. This contributed about 22% of non-fatal accidents in UK between 2016 and 2017. Issues such as back pains, strains and sprains. Work related upper limbs disorders are also typical example of these disorders.

Although, some of these disorders may not be acute, they may be life threatening over a period of time. Control measures as stated below are necessary to greatly minimize the risk.

  • Use of mechanical lifting equipment like forklift, pallet truck, rollers etc.
  • Undertake team lifting when necessary
  • Get trained on safe system of lifting
  • Conduct regular medical surveillance in line with the risk assessment.

In conclusion, there’s need for adequate risk assessment on all jobs within these industries. Appropriate control measures should be implemented with the appointment of a responsible person.

Download full text on health and safety in catering industry by UK HSE.

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