Food Service Safety Tips

Food Service Safety Tips

By Annette Satterly, Risk Management Associate

I love to work with food service employees! It allows me to combine two of my great passions—

safety and eating. You are experts when it comes to food and food preparation safety, but sometimes you are so busy feeding others that you forget to remember your own safety. I need all of you to be healthy and on the job, so that I and others may purchase lunch and breakfast while in the area. To help with that endeavor, I have listed some of the following safety tips:

  • Footwear: Pay very close attention to your footwear. Shoes should be comfortable, have closed toes and good traction. Rubber, non-stick soles are preferable. As a gentle reminder, you have access to Shoes for Crews through our webpage at the following link: There is a discount built-in. 

  • Mats: Mats are convenient safety tools in kitchens for many reasons, two of which include:
    1. Countering fatigue associated with standing in one place to prep food or walking about to serve customers.
    2. Providing anti-slip material that diverts liquids from the main walking paths.
  • Spills: Wipe up spills immediately; or short of that, place a cone or other warning device to alert others until the spill can be cleaned.
  • Broken china: Prevent cuts by discarding chipped and cracked dishes and bowls.
  • Knives: Store knives in a place where you can determine where the blade is before reaching for the knife. Never reach into soapy water for a blade, and never catch a dropped knife.
  • Guards: Maintain the proper guards on equipment such as mixers and slicers.
  • Handles: Turn all pot handles away from walking pathways to prevent burns.
  • Burners: Turn off all burners when they are not in use, and always assume that they are hot.
  • Flammables: Do not tack recipes, pictures or other papers above stoves or burners.
  • Storage: Store chemicals and cleaning supplies away from food storage and preparation areas.
  • Stools and ladders: Use stepstools and ladders to reach high areas. Do not stand on items that were not made to be stood on.

 Also, consider proper body mechanics and ergonomics throughout the day. The more often the body remains in natural positions, the less likely an injury will occur. Similarly, it is a good idea to stretch periodically throughout one’s shift.  

Last but not least, when possible cook smaller batches in order to limit the strain to your shoulders and backs associated with lifting heavy pots and pans. 

Please remember that Harry Cheff (good pun) and I are available to visit the kitchens and assist with routine inspections, ergonomic assessments, and kitchen safety training. Both of us have worked closely with school food service employees to evaluate activities and offer demonstrations for better body mechanics. For questions, or to set up training or evaluations, you may contact us at the following email addresses and phone numbers:

Harry; 406-457-5315

Annette Satterly –; 406-457-4410         Return to 2019 Fall Newsletter