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  • Writer's picturePauline Handy

Reduce Restaurant Workers' Comp Claims Using This Checklist

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

No time is better than the present to construct a checklist for your restaurant to help reduce workers' comp claims. Here is a bit of guidance to help you get started.

Head chef and assistant chefs cooking in high-end restaurant

Workplace injuries are far too common in restaurants. On-the-job injuries and illnesses affect not only the injured employee, but can also lead to higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums, increased expenses and lost productivity.

It’s important to develop a culture of safety at your restaurant. You can help to reduce restaurant Workers' Comp claims using this checklist. Use this checklist to train your managers and employees in order to help create a safer and better work environment for everyone.

Safety equipment

  • Keep fire extinguishers in key locations and inspect them regularly

  • Stock a first-aid cabinet with supplies for treating common injuries

  • Allow only closed-toe/slip-resistant footwear

  • Make sure employees wear cut-resistant gloves and eye protection when appropriate

Restaurant floors and walkways

  • Keep corridors and stairs free of obstructions

  • Clean up spills immediately

  • Put up warning signs when the floor is slippery

  • Position anti-skid rubber mats near sinks, stoves and dishwashers, and replace them when they become worn or warped

  • Close cabinet doors after use

  • Make sure lighting is sufficient in both front and back of house for people to see where they’re going

  • Clean up broken glass with a broom and protective gloves

Kitchen appliances and utensils

  • Keep water away from electrical appliances, and periodically check cords for fraying, exposed wires, or other damage

  • Keep knives properly sharpened

  • Pass and store knives carefully

  • Let a falling knife fall. Step back and don’t try to catch it.

  • Never leave knives soaking in water

  • Install protective guards on all slicing equipment

  • Use kitchen mitts or a towel when handling hot objects

  • Don’t place hot pots or pans with the handles hanging over the edge of a stove, table or counter

  • Keep cooking equipment clean and don’t let grease build up

  • Avoid reaching across hot surfaces

  • Never leave hot oil or grease unattended

  • Don’t stand too close to hot oil or lean over it

  • Let oil cool before handling

  • Post signage in areas where hot surfaces aren’t obvious

  • Extinguish grease fires properly. Never use water – instead, suffocate the flames with a metal lid and turn off the heat source. Use a fire extinguisher that is appropriate for kitchen fires.

Prevent sprains, strains and repetitive motion injuries

  • Lift heavy items with your legs, not your back

  • Avoid awkward positions while lifting, including reaching or twisting

  • Have two people lift and carry any object that weighs more than 50 pounds. Use hand trucks and dollies as appropriate.

  • Whenever possible, push carts instead of pulling them

  • Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks (like chopping onions or slicing mushrooms)

Cleaning and storage

  • Store cleaning supplies and other chemicals in their original containers, away from food and heat sources

  • Make safety information available for each chemical used in the workplace and ensure employees know where to find it


  • Hold safety trainings regularly. Training should start during each new employee orientation and be reinforced regularly. The sessions should include how to identify potential hazards, how to prevent accidents, and how to respond if someone gets hurt. Your business insurance agent may have training resources through your insurance carrier that could be free, low-cost, and convenient.

  • Hold training sessions whenever new substances, processes, procedures, or equipment are introduced into the workplace

  • Train workers in a language they understand well. This is especially important in a multilingual workplace.

V.F. McNeil Insurance is an independent insurance agency located in Branford, Connecticut. Our team works with restaurant owners and can provide customized business insurance options for the risks faced by restaurant owners. Contact us today with questions about worker's compensation insurance (203) 481-2684.

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