Cafeteria Floor Mats

An Industry Specific Buyer's Guide

Know the Hazards

Prevent Slips and Falls

Anti-Fatigue Mats

Food court cafeterias are popular dining establishments in universities, shopping centers, large business compounds, retail stores, and schools across the world. They are basically fast-food chains conveniently located in one place.

In addition to keeping up with regular safety guidelines for food preparation, employees in food court cafeterias come into direct contact with customers on a daily basis—there’s no wait staff to act as a go-between. These workers have to contend with the same hazards as commercial kitchen workers and also worry about keeping their customers safe. Knowing the common safety risks will help you come up with a viable solution to keep both parties safe.

Types of Hazards in Food Court Cafeterias

Food court cafeterias face similar safety hazards as a commercial kitchen. Since there is often a shortage in commercial kitchens, losing staff-hours to injury affects your business’s reputation and bottom line. The first step in keeping your employees healthy and safe is to recognize some of the hazards found in a food court cafeteria, such as:

  • Slippery or Uneven Floors: Most injuries in the workplace are due to slip, trip, and fall accidents. These hazards can happen anywhere in your operation and are extremely costly to employees, employers, and customers.
  • Dangerous Machinery and Equipment: Food court kitchens have equipment that's designed to cut, chop, fry, or sear foods. Employees that are not properly trained to use the equipment or machinery without proper guards can lead to a serious injury.
  • Heavy Lifting: Sprains and strains can result from improper lifting techniques. Common activities such as lifting, pushing, turning, holding, carrying, or throwing are the top causes of injuries in the workplace.
  • Burn and Chemical Hazards: Hot surfaces, hot liquids and oils, and hot foods that spatter their surrounding area are common in food court kitchens. Cleaning supplies and sanitizers, present chemical hazards when not used properly.
  • Clutter: Empty boxes and containers left on the floor can lead to trip and fall accidents for employees and customers.
  • Food Safety Hazards: Cross-contamination is a common danger, often caused by using the same equipment or prep surfaces without proper cleaning between tasks. Not following safe food handling procedures can pose a risk to your customers and the business.

Related Reading

Preventing Slip and Fall Hazards

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 25.8 percent of work-related injuries are from slips, trips, and falls. Moreover, the National Floor Safety Institute says that falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits per year.

Since these hazards are the cause for the majority of work-related injuries, preventing them should be any food court cafeteria’s first priority. Thankfully, adding floor mats for the food industry can significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls.

For kitchen areas, adding rubber floor mats provides traction and comfortable standing surfaces for workers. These mats feature a non-slip surface that reduces the chances of a slip or fall. These mats are easy to clean and maintain too—simply lift at the end of shifts to sweep away accumulated debris underneath the mat. Mop the top with standard commercial cleaners and it’s good to go. The rubber mats can also be hosed down to remove stubborn, stuck-on debris.

For areas that are exposed to water or other potential spills ( in front of a sink), a mat with drainage holes is best. The mats allow liquids and debris to pass through the matting, keeping the surface and feet of the worker dry. This reduces the chances of a slip or fall. These mats also provide a cushioned surface that will keep workers comfortable during their shift.

Food court cafeterias also need to take customer foot traffic into account. Placing entrance or runner mats in strategical locations can help limit the amount of dirt entering the cafeteria and provide a non-slip surface for customers. Cafeteria floor mats work best at entrances to keep dirt and moisture from shoes entering the cafeteria. They also should be placed near the register or area when customers order food to pick up any residual dirt or moisture that may have been missed from the entrance mats.

Improving Employee Performance with Anti-fatigue Mats

Food court workers spend most of their shift standing. According to one study, standing on hard surfaces for 90 minutes or more can cause severe discomfort to the legs, feet, hands, shoulders, and neck [4]. Adding an anti-fatigue mat can greatly reduce discomfort for employees who stand for long periods of time during their shift. Anti-fatigue mats with non-slip surfaces keep employees safe and comfortable.

Even with all the risks to employees and customers in food court cafeterias, there are simple preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risks. With proper planning and the right safety equipment, you can keep both employees and customers safe while protecting your bottom line.

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