A safely balanced breakfast
By Matt King
“Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have.”
– Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
The sound of bacon crackling in oil, the scraping of scrambled eggs in a frying pan, maybe a handful of peppers sizzling in a skillet—these are the sounds of breakfast being made, but they might as well be the sounds of heaven or, at the very least, the sounds of comfort to me. Ron Swanson’s words made perfect sense to the young boy I once was.
As a young boy, my heart and soul was permanently attached to a plate of breakfast food, and I thought it would be fun to work in a restaurant, especially one that specialized in that most important meal of the day. And I imagine it really would be quite fun and even fulfilling at times, but as a young boy romanticizing the fluffiness of pancakes, one thing I did not take into consideration was safety.
Much like any job, working in a restaurant has its own set of possible hazards, and it’s important that, whether you’re washing dishes, serving customers, or making a salad, you take safety into consideration, especially as, with customers like Ron Swanson, there can be high demand and high stress involved.
The United States Department of Labor has an excellent breakdown of restaurant safety, and if you work in a kitchen, or are even thinking about it, hopefully some of their tips can be helpful…
- The oil, so hot right now… Do you work near hot oil? It’s always best to use caution when working around hot oil, making sure to get training and observe all safety protocol. Avoid reaching over the oil and make sure to keep everything clean, but only cleaning once the oil has cooled down.
- Serving the people, one strain at a time… Be aware of your posture and even how you hold a tray. Awkward stretches can result in serious strains, and moving tables or other heavy objects by yourself can do the same.
- Cut tomatoes, not corners… In food preparation, a worker uses knives and other sharp objects regularly, and these sharp objects make it especially important to follow safety regulations. Cut away from the body; store knives properly in their respective areas; and if a knife falls, let it fall—a knife juggler is not welcome in a safe kitchen.
- A fiery workplace requires caution… When cooking food, young workers are often working around open flames, something really only a firefighter or dragon tamer would understand. It is important to be trained around this issue and know proper safety procedure: never pour water on a grease fire, never move oil when it is hot or on fire, keep everything clean, and more. If you feel something is unsafe, talk to your employer and ask questions.
There is a ton more information and tips over at that site, and I definitely recommend taking a look at it, especially if you or a loved one work in a kitchen or restaurant. If you want even more information, WorkSafeBC has a good overview as well.
As always, work smart, work safe.
Do you have any tips for restaurant safety? Leave a comment here or tweet us @HeadsUpAB.