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Health and Safety for Catering Industry / Chefs

Health and Safety
Health and Safety

This information sheet is part of a series produced by
the Health and Safety in Hospitality Industry Liaison
Committee. Details on the Committee are given at the
end. It contains practical advice on how employers
can meet their legal obligations under current health
and safety legislation and has been written specifically
for small catering establishments. It is intended that it
will be reproduced through member associations and
other avenues to reach caterers.

Why bother with health and safety?

Statistics have proved that bad management practices
cause accidents and cost money, time and effort.
The number of major injuries to employees in hotel
and catering industries rose by 4% in 2004/05 to
1224. This is the highest number reported during the
last eight years and continues an upward trend since
2001/01. The rate of major injury also continues an
upward trend from the previous two years, rising from
67.1 per 100 000 employees to 69.4. 55% of major
injuries were as a result of slips or trips. In this same
year there were over 5000 accidents to employees
which were not major, but lead to three or more days
off work. These figures represent costs both in terms
of pain and suffering for individuals and in direct costs
to employers.

Your employees are less likely to have work accidents
and ill health if you have good controls in place.
Management responsibilities
This information sheet will demonstrate that it is as
important to manage health and safety as any other
aspect of your business.
What are the main risks?
Individual workplaces will, of course, exhibit their own
patterns of risk, but the main causes of accidents and
ill health in the catering industry are:
n slips, trips and falls;
n lifting and manual handling;
n contact with hot surfaces and harmful substances;
n dermatitis;
n work-related upper limb disorders.

What can be done?

Remember, most accidents can be prevented by good
management and supervision combined with effective
training, which makes accident prevention no different
from any other aspect of running a successful
business. Careful thought and planning applied to
those areas of catering where the risks are highest

should help to prevent accidents and reduce costs. It
will also show enforcement officers that you are going
down the right route towards complying with health
and safety legislation.


Owners and managers have clearly defined legal
duties about training employees. The law requires
every employer and self-employed person to consider
the health and safety training needs of themselves and
all employees, including new recruits, part-timers and
temporary or agency staff. It is important to appreciate
that time and effort spent in ensuring staff are working
safely and understand the reasons for good practices
is likely to:
n save the business time and money: there will be
less money and time wasted in staff accidents,
damaged equipment, damage to premises and
wasted resources;
n improve staff morale and feelings of security,
leading to improved service, commitment and

Catering Information Sheet No 4
Managing health and safety pays
in the catering industry
HSE information sheet

Consultation with employees
Good management of health and safety can only be
achieved with the co-operation of the workforce. It is
vital that your employees know what is expected of
them and are aware of any risks to their health and
safety that may arise at work and any safe systems of
work that are applied.

The co-operation of the workforce is likely to be more
constructive if you consult with them about developing
health and safety measures. Where you recognise a
trade union, safety representatives must be consulted
about the health and safety arrangements before
action is taken. Where trade unions are not involved,
the workforce should be encouraged to appoint its
own safety representatives.
Involving safety representatives helps ensure that
health and safety measures will be effective in


Health and safety will not be a burden if managed
Managing health and safety effectively:
n ensures it is not a burden;
n keeps costs to a minimum and can bring savings;
n prevents injury and ill health to your business�
most important resource: people;
n reduces the likelihood of civil claims.
Effective management of health and safety can best
be achieved by:
n realising it is an integral and essential part of
business management;
n identifying the main risk areas and taking action on
those first;
n setting yourself clear targets, for example to train
staff and to clearly allocate responsibilities;
n supervising adequately;
n consulting staff at all stages.
The role of enforcement officers
This information sheet only refers to health and safety
matters. It is not intended to cover food safety and
hygiene requirements.

In most catering situations, local authority enforcement
officers are responsible for the enforcement of health
and safety legislation. Inspectors from HSE look after
health and safety in catering facilities in institutions
such as hospitals, schools etc. The role of the
enforcement officer is not just to enforce the law but
also to promote health and safety, give advice on the
law and how to comply with it and advise on other
sources of information � for example, a series of
booklets available from HSE.

So, enforcement officers are there to help businesses
and promote health and safety.
Basic principles of the law
This information sheet does not attempt to explain the
law in detail. It is simply a brief introduction to things
that managers can do to prevent accidents and ill
health at work. However, set out below is an outline of
what the law requires in general.
The law requires you to ensure, as far as is reasonably
practicable, the health and safety of yourself and
others who may be affected by what you do or fail to
do. The duties extend to people who:
n work for you, including agency, casual, part-time
and trainee workers and subcontractors;
n use workplaces you provide;
n are allowed to use your equipment;
n visit your premises;
n may be affected by your work;
n use your professional services.
You may provide catering services to other employers
at their workplace. The law requires all employers
sharing the same workplace to co-operate and coordinate
on health and safety.

The law applies to all work premises and everyone at
work � employee, supervisor, manager, director or
self-employed � has duties.
In practical terms you must identify the risks in your
workplace and, as far as is reasonably practicable,
take steps to reduce or eliminate them. In some
cases, legislation related to the Health and Safety at
Work etc Act may require specific measures to be

2 of 3 pages

Health and Safety

Health and Safety in Hospitality Industry
Liaison Committee
The Committee has been established by the hospitality
industry and the Health and Safety Executive. It
comprises trade and professional associations from
the industry, trade unions and enforcement authorities.
The Committee acts as a network to develop and
communicate information and guidance through the
industry and provides a forum where issues can be
identified and resolved. Although its information sheets
cannot be taken as definitive HSE guidance, they do
give information on best practice from within the
industry which has, in the past, been accepted by
both HSE and local authority inspectors as a means of
complying with health and safety legislation.
Further advice and information
HSE produces a wide range of documents. Some are
available as printed publications, both priced and free,
and others are only accessible via the HSE website,

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Tags: Catering Health & Safety , Catering Industry Health & Safety , Chefs Health & Safety , Health & Safety

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