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Workplace Safety Tips

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Workplace Safety Tips

June is National Safety Month. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association along with our partner Illinois Casualty Company offers the following tips to help owners and employees with safety in Pennsylvania bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants to prevent injuries and unnecessary time off from work healing.

Burn Prevention

  • Be Familiar with Fire Extinguishers – Know where all the fire extinguishers are located, as well as how to use them. Fire prevention is also burn prevention.
  • Watch Pots and Pans – Assume that all pots and pans are hot when you encounter them. Don’t overfill them either.
  • Use Caution with Hot Oil – Never carry or move oil containers when the oil is hot or on fire. Additionally, be very careful when placing anything in hot oil.
  • Do Not Stretch Over Heat – Don’t reach over a stove or grill. Be aware of what you’re doing and where you’re at in the kitchen at all times.
  • Use Oven Mitts – Use oven mitts or long gloves when handling anything hot or around the stove.
  • Be Aware of Handles – Carefully place all pots and pans so handles do not stick out. If anyone bumps into a handle and the pan falls, this could cause a bad burn or other injury.

Knives and Cutting

  • Use a Cutting Board – A cutting board provides a stable surface and is designed for use with knives. Plates or countertops don’t offer the same advantages.
  • Use the Right Knife – Not all knives are created equal. Trying to chop an onion with a butter knife is not a good idea. Size up the job and choose the right knife.
  • Keep Knives Sharpened – Dull knives need more force to cut into food, which could lead to a slip and cut of the finger. Keep them sharp to make the job easier and safer.
  • Cut in the Right Direction – Always cut away from your body. If the knife slips, this lowers the risk of an injury.
  • Carry Knife Properly – Carry only one knife at a time and keep the tip pointed down at your side. This prevents hurting yourself or someone else if you drop the knife or run into a coworker.
  • Keep Knives Visible – Knives are hazardous, especially if someone doesn’t know one is there. Make sure the knives aren’t covered up with other items and that coworkers are aware of where they are placed.

Meat Slicers

  • Use Guards and Glides – Wear cut resistant gloves while using a meat slicer and use the provided guards and glides. Make sure everything is in the proper position.
  • Use Proper Settings – Just like chopping ingredients by hand, size up the task to determine the proper slicer settings. Slicing something too thin can lead to a higher injury risk.
  • Never Reach Across the Blade – This one is simple: never reach across the meat slicer blade. This carries too high of an injury risk.
  • Keep Both Hands Visible – Along with never reaching across the blade, keep both hands visible during use of the slicer to lower injury risk and eliminate any confusion.
  • Turn Off After Use – Turn the slicer off after use and set it to zero. Don’t risk forgetting and leaving it turned on.
  • Unplug When Cleaning – Unplug the slicer before cleaning it. After it has been cleaned, make sure all guards and safety devices are put back in place.

Preventing Back Injuries

  • Teach Proper Lifting Techniques – Many employee injuries can be prevented if they know how to properly lift something heavy. Make tips available and share them regularly as a reminder.
  • Place Objects Off the Floor – Employees can spare their backs a lot of strain by not having objects on the floor to be lifted. Use shelves, cabinets, and other storage.
  • Raise or Lower Shelves – Try to keep shelving in a convenient location for most employees to minimize bending or straining. Raise or lower shelves accordingly.
  • Use Carts – Have carts available to minimize lifting and carrying heavy items for larger distances.
  • Ask for Help – Tell your employees to ask for help when needing to life something heavy. Encourage them not to try picking something up if they aren’t sure it will be safe for them.
  • Have a Lifting Plan – Explain the importance of planning your moves. Size up the object, clear a path, and determine whether you need help. Offer help to others if they are lifting something.
  • Listen to Your Body – It’s of utmost importance that employees know not to strain to lift something. They should set the item down and ask for help if it’s too heavy to lift on their own.
  • Minimize Hazards – When moving a heavy item from the kitchen to the patio, for example, make sure a path is clear and that any hazards are addressed.
  • Work on Coordination – Proper coordination and balance can make all the difference in minimizing back pain and injuries. This is especially important when carrying trays or piles of plates.

Editor’s Note: Illinois Casualty Company is the exclusive preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association for liability insurance products. Qualifying PLBTA Members can save up to 10% on their business owners and liquor liability insurance. To find out more about these insurance programs and to locate an agent in your area, visit

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