Are you familiar with OSHA regulations for restaurants? - 2021

OSHA regulations for restaurants

When was OSHA founded?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed by Congress and then-President Richard Nixon on December 29, 1970. OSHA was officially formed as a government agency on April 28, 1971. The organization is part of the US Department of Labor. The United States and the United States The administrator of the program is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. The OSHA administrator reports to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.

What is the primary purpose of OSHA?

OSHA's primary goal is to establish that having a safe workplace is a basic human right and that no worker should have to choose between his or her life and work. Consequently, OSHA establishes and enforces safety standards while providing employers and employees with outreach, assistance, education, and training.

Since OSHA's inception in 1971, workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths have decreased significantly. The law covers nearly all private sector employees and most public sector employees who are not yet protected by government worker safety programs.

OSHA Employer Obligations

As an employer, it is critical that you understand the protections that OSHA offers its employees. To comply with the rules and regulations of the Law, be sure to do the following:

  • Provide employees with a workplace free from OSHA recognized hazards.
  • Communicate clearly your company's operating procedures , so that employees can easily understand health and safety requirements.
  • Post a government-issued OSHA poster informing employees of their responsibilities and rights in a conspicuous place, such as your cafeteria or break room.
  • Keep detailed records of workplace injuries and illnesses and make sure employees or their representatives can easily obtain employee medical records.
  • Consider joining an injury and illness prevention program, which is designed to help you and your employees reduce the number of workplace injuries. In turn, this could help keep everyone healthy and reduce medical expenses for both employers and employees.

Following these basic procedures will help you keep your employees safe and also save your business money on fines and medical bills.

OSHA Employee Protections

In addition to understanding basic OSHA protections, it is important to know the two main types of complaints your workers can file. The first is a health and safety complaint, while the other is a protection against retaliation.

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Health and safety complaints They are presented by employees who believe that their working conditions are unsafe or harmful to their health. Before applying, workers should try to bring the problem to their employer's attention in an attempt to correct the problem without involving OSHA. However, if this is not possible, employees can submit a confidential report to OSHA to request an inspection of their workplace.

International shipments may take up to  Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for filing a complaint with OSHA may file protection against retaliation complaints (also known as whistleblower complaints). It is illegal for any company to demote, transfer, or fire employees who exercise their OSHA rights.

Address your employees' concerns and keeping lines of communication open can go a long way toward avoiding OSHA complaints, but it is still important to be prepared for potential inspections, regardless of the concerns raised.

OSHA inspections

If your facility is selected for an OSHA inspection, don't panic! Knowing the process beforehand can help alleviate any of your potential concerns. The four main stages of OSHA inspections are detailed below.


Before visiting your foodservice establishment, an OSHA compliance officer will review your inspection history. In addition, they will become familiar with the type of business you have and review the standards that apply to your type of establishment.

When the compliance officer arrives, make sure they provide photo identification and your serial number. They will introduce themselves and then you will proceed to a meeting room or your office for a short opening conference.

Inaugural conference

The opening conference is held between the OSHA compliance officer, representatives from restaurants and, if applicable, your employees' union representative. During the opening conference, the compliance officer will explain why your facility was chosen for an inspection and the purpose of the inspection. Additionally, they may have a court order allowing them access to specific documents, such as your injury and illness record. Once the conference has concluded, the parties involved will begin the tour of the facilities.

Facilities tour

During the facility tour, the OSHA compliance officer will conduct a tour of your facility. restaurant. They will probably take notes and pictures during the inspection, and they will also be allowed to talk to their employees. If you wish, you can accompany them.

Please note that while you are allowed to correct any violations noted by the compliance officer during your tour, you may be fined for those violations.

Closing conference

Once the OSHA compliance officer has finished his tour, he will meet with you again to discuss the results of his inspection. They will not issue immediate citations or fines, but you will be informed of any violations they find and given a timetable to correct problems. In addition, you will receive a copy of OSHA's publication entitled “Employer Rights and Responsibilities After a Work Inspection. OSHA".

Be sure to correct any violations the compliance officer finds within the established timeline. If you don't, OSHA could shut down your facility, damaging your reputation and putting you out of business permanently.

OSHA Rules and Regulations for Restaurants

While general OSHA rules and regulations also apply to foodservice businesses, it is important to be aware of the specific hazards your employees may encounter. In addition, you must know the OSHA rights of your workers to keep your establishment running smoothly.

OSHA Hazards in Restaurants

There is a wide range of potential safety hazards that your employees may encounter in their restaurant daily. These general dangers include the following:

  • Slips, trips and falls on slippery floors
  • Strain on the back and arms from lifting heavy trays and boxes
  • Utensil burns kitchen and hot utensils
  • Cuts during food preparation
  • Workplace Violence Injuries
  • Strain in the back and legs from standing for long periods
  • Skin or eye irritation from chemical spills.

Despite the potential for workplace injuries in foodservice environments, it's easy to make your restaurant a safe place to work. Here are some of the most effective strategies.

Ensure safety in your restaurant

OSHA inspections
Photo: WebstauranStore

Wondering how to ensure a safe workplace for your employees? Check out the tips and strategies below to learn how to adhere to OSHA regulations for kitchen kitchens. restaurants.

Food handling

Employees who directly handle food should wash their hands and food preparation utensils with soap and warm water before coming into contact with food. Make sure they are also thoroughly cleaning the surfaces in the prep areas to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria. They should also wear disposable latex gloves for maximum protection against foodborne illness.


This is easy - make sure your floors are clean and dry, especially near bars and sinks. These areas should have adequate drainage to prevent pools of water from forming. You can also use rubber mats and raised platforms to keep employees safe. Also, make sure there are no loose tiles or bumps and holes in your carpet that workers can slip or trip over.

Kitchen temperatures and safety

Kitchens can become extremely hot over the course of a long shift, so providing employees with cool areas to take their breaks is essential. When you are training new workers, teach them how to determine if someone is dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion. Similarly, make sure all your employees know how to administer first aid to co-workers who need it. Follow OSHA regulations on the temperature of kitchen kitchens. restaurants it can go a long way in keeping your workers comfortable and safe.

Age restrictions

Make sure you comply with OSHA regulations on the age of children. restaurants regarding the type of work minors can perform and how many hours they are legally allowed to work. These rules will vary according to the age of the minor; For example, people under the age of 16 cannot cook, bake, handle knives, or use electrical appliances that could cause injury. The number of hours your younger employees can work also varies by time of year, as more work hours are generally allowed on days when the minor is not in school.

Statistics show that more than 30% of restaurant employees are 20 years old or younger, and food service often gives minors their first real-world work experience. This sector of the workforce can be invaluable to restaurant owners, so it is important that you take care of their safety in order to provide a pleasant work environment and avoid OSHA violations.


Lastly, you need to provide your employees with the training and knowledge they need to stay safe in their business. restaurant. This should be comprised of theoretical and practical training to make sure workers know how to stay safe from the day of their first shift.

OSHA Rights of Restaurant Employees

Your restaurant employees have a number of rights guaranteed by OSHA. To create a safe and pleasant work environment, you must also be aware of these protections. Listed below are some of the most important rights of employees .

  • The right to a safe and healthy workplace.
  • The right to file a workers' compensation claim if you are injured on the job.
  • The right to receive the minimum wage. Alternatively, the hourly wage and tips for tipped employees must equal the state minimum wage.
  • The right to be paid overtime if more than 40 hours are worked in a week.
  • The right to a 30-minute meal break during a day shift or any shift of more than six hours.
  • The right to protection against discrimination.
  • The right to the protection of laws relating to minors who work (if they are under 18 years of age).

Whether you run a warehouse, factory, or restaurant, it's important to understand the rules, regulations, and protections imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This legislation and its enforcement organization are designed to keep workers safe and can also help you create a more positive and supportive workplace for your valued employees.

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