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Safety in...

Catering Premises

The following details highlight some of the hazards and risks that may exist in catering premises and the steps you can take to prevent accidents. This list can be used as a starting point in assisting you to complete a risk assessment.

Cutting Injuries or Amputations

From knives and dangerous equipment.

Managing the risk:

  • Employ safe practises, for example always cut or chop on a board never in the hand.
  • Do not leave knives in sinks and store knives in suitable racks or sheaths.
  • Make sure dangerous machines such as slicers, mixers and food processors are suitable located, securely fixed and adequately guarded.
  • Site the equipment so that the operator cannot be accidentally bumped/distracted. Display warning notices alongside machines to remind operators and others of the dangers they pose.
  • Maintain equipment in good condition.

Burns and Scalds

From cooking appliances, utensils and boiling water.

Managing the risk:

  • Do not top up deep fat fryers with oil from large containers.
  • Lower food into the fat slowly.
  • Provide suitable gloves and aprons for dishwashing and only use special oven cloths for removing hot items from ovens.
  • Use long handled baskets for deep sinks.
  • Never leave cooking pots so that the handles overlap the stove edge.
  • Keep face clear when opening lids on bain-maries and saucepans. Never reach across hot containers, saucepans, etc.

Fire Risks

From electrical faults in wiring, lights and equipment, burning fat and grease, flare ups in cooking and smoking.

Managing the risk:

  • Do not overfill or leave deep fat fryers unattended. Do not leave ovens or ranges unattended.
  • Ensure that the thermostats are working.
  • Ensure adequate fire fighting equipment is available, e.g. fire blankets.
  • Clean microwave ovens on a daily basis.
  • Ensure that all means of escape are properly maintained and kept free from obstruction, unlocked and easy to open.
  • Ensure electrical systems are checked regularly and faults reported and repaired immediately.
  • Do not overload electrical systems by using adaptors.

Slips, Trips and Falls

From uneven, slippery or obstructed floor surfaces and trailing cables may lead to accidents and injuries.

Managing the risk:

  • Provide adequate lighting and sufficient room.
  • Train staff in safe working practises e.g. never carry hot food over the head of a customer, be aware of handbags, etc.
  • Establish a one way system in and out of the kitchen.
  • Provide mops so that spills can be cleaned up immediately.
  • Provide safe access equipment for reaching heights.
  • Avoid trailing cables.


Substances used for cleaning sinks, toilets and floors and for washing dishes are potentially dangerous chemicals and may cause dermatitis and chemical burns.

Managing the risk:

  • Use the safest possible cleaning agents and instruct staff how to use chemicals safely.
  • Obtain information on all substances used in the premises from manufacturers hazard data sheets.
  • Train staff and provide appropriate protective clothing.


People have lost their lives, others have suffered injuries as a result of accidents during maintenance work e.g. window cleaning, changing light bulbs, painting etc, or lift and equipment maintenance.

Managing the risk:

  • Do not overlook routine cleaning and maintenance work when considering health and safety. Develop safe systems of work for your employees.
  • Ensure there is nothing on your premises, which could pose a risk to the health and safety of contractors.
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