Food truck slip and falls are an all too common occurrence that can be prevented. While not all food truck specific, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) estimates that more than 3 million foodservice employees are injured each year while working in kitchens.
Preventing Slip And Falls In Your Food Truck Kitchen
So how can a food truck owner prevent slip and falls in their kitchens? First you need to understand the primary causes of slip and falls.
Primary Causes Of Slip And Falls In Food Trucks
- Physical obstructions on the floor, such as an improperly installed drain cover, a folded mat, or clutter.
- Wet weather conditions or water/moisture buildup on the floors.
- Slippery floors, typically the result of water, oil, cleaning chemicals, grease, or grease buildup.
- Poor lighting
As a food truck owner, you can do a lot to help your staff protect themselves. The best ways would be to require nonslip footwear and use of common sense and training them to be “safety focused.” Ultimately the food truck owner is responsible for protecting their staff.
While correcting slip and fall hazards such as removing floor obstructions, stretching mats and making sure the kitchen area is well lit and clutter free are relatively easy steps to take, keeping food truck kitchen floors clean and safe can be a bit more difficult. However, because so many slip and falls are the result of slippery floors, it is a difficulty that must be addressed and corrected.
Measuring Slipperiness To Prevent Slip And Falls
Because slip and falls are so often the result of a slippery floor, food truck vendors should know that there are ways to determine just how slippery a floor is. To determine how slippery a floor is requires an evaluation of the floor’s coefficient of fraction (COF).
This is actually a very simple procedure. Using COF testing equipment is run over a floor. To get an accurate reading, typically three different areas of the floor are tested. The equipment then measures the floor’s COF: 0.5 or less is considered slippery; 0.5 or more is considered safe or at least less hazardous.
COF testing should be done regularly using the same type of equipment. A log should be created to record the test results, when the test was conducted, what areas were tested and what corrective measures were taken if the COF was too low. These tests can help provide proof of your truck’s safety should a slip and fall accident occur, as well as compliance with any OSHA guidelines.
A Final Note
We cannot over-stress the importance of proper floor cleaning in helping to prevent slip and falls. You must stay vigilant in keeping your food truck floors clear of hazardous conditions. This can be done with a standard mop and detergent during non-operational hours, but during a busy shift, you may have to keep an eye on the floor and train your staff to keep a squirt bottle of warm water and detergent close by to use to pick up after any spills while cooking and delivering your menu items to your customers.
The Bottom Line
There are more than 3 million foodservice workers injured each year due to slip and falls. Because of this, this is obviously an issue food truck owners must take seriously. Fortunately, as we discussed here, there are cost efficient ways to reduce these numbers and keep your food truck employees safe.
Do you have any additional tips to prevent slip and falls in a food truck kitchen? We’d love to hear your advice. Share your thoughts in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook