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OSHA guidelines, standards and safety rules apply to nearly every restaurant industry legal matter and it is a whole lot more than the little bit of text on the OSHA wall poster. Your case will more likely than not depend on the standards applied and whether or not you know the standards and how best to apply them to your legal matter as it pertains specifically to restaurants.

The reasonable and customary restaurant industry standard is to provide every employee at every level and every pay scale with continual and ongoing safety, health, and security training from the time they begin employment until the last moment of employment before termination.


Restaurant Safety, Health, and Security Training

To be within industry standard and regulatory compliance, continual and ongoing training in the restaurant industry traditionally includes a combination of written, verbal, hands-on, and video training. This training should be in direct alignment with the reasonable and customary written policies, procedures, and practices of the restaurant industry; the reasonable and customary written policies, procedures, and practices of the specific organization; and the reasonable and customary written policies, procedures, and practices of the specific restaurant establishment (or group of restaurants).

Many OSHA standards specifically require the employer to train workers in the safety and health aspects of their jobs:

  • 1926.21(a): General requirements. The Secretary (of OSHA) shall, pursuant to section 107(f) of the Act, establish and supervise programs for the education and training of employers and employees in the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of unsafe conditions in employments covered by the act.
  • 1926.21(b): Employer responsibility.
  • 1926.21(b)(1): The employer should avail himself of the safety and health training programs the Secretary provides.
  • 1926.21(b)(2): The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.

According to OSHA, “training is an essential component of an effective safety and health program. Training helps identify the safety and health responsibilities of both management and employees at the site. Training is often most effective when incorporated into other education or performance requirements and job practices. The complexity of training depends on the size and complexity of the worksite, as well as the characteristics of the hazards and potential hazards at the site.”36

Restaurant operations are highly complex, and the hazards and potential hazards that may exist are many and varied. Training is one of the best methods in helping employees perform their job in a safe manner and in as safe a workplace as possible. It is an investment that will pay off in many ways, such as fewer injuries and illnesses, better employee morale, lower insurance premiums, and/or reduced risks for employees, customers, and vendors alike.

Excerpt from a book by Howard Cannon
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