Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Posted by Patrick Maness +


Most restaurant managers want to be sure their employees know and understand all the safety precautions and cleanliness procedures required by the restaurant's own standards and the state's guidelines. And it’s safe to say that most restaurant managers don’t always trust their employees to do this. As a result, an almost absurd number of signs gets posted throughout the kitchen and prep areas, each serving as a reminder, guideline and/or warning.

When it comes to putting signs up, it’s easy to overdo it. 

Too many kitchen-safety posters and signs can be counterproductive. In this scenario, rather than standing out and effectively reminding employees to wash their hands or what temperature to set the dishwasher to, all the signs blend together and become a sort of wallpaper no one notices.

The challenge, then, is to prioritize and post the right signs in the right places.

The right kitchen-safety tips in the right place

One of the simplest ways to decide which signs to put up is to break them down by category, as follows: cleanliness/food safety and equipment hazards. Here are some recommended signs for each group.

Cleanliness and food safety

  • Reminders to clean surfaces that food touches with a properly diluted concentration of bleach or cleaning agent
  • Simple instructions at the cleaning station (for how to mix floor cleaner/spray cleaners, etc.)
  • All servers must wash their hands after handling food
  • All workers must wash their hands
  • A chart of foods and the proper temperatures they should be cooked to and served at

Equipment standards and hazards

  • Optimal temperature that both freezers and refrigerators should be kept at
  • Warning signs not to block vents
  • Basic maintenance signs ("what to do in case of …") next to major appliances
  • Warnings about putting out a grease fire with water
  • Knife-safety guidelines

In addition to the mandatory OSHA safety signs, you’ll have to consider more creative safety signs as well. Signs don’t need to be strictly verbal, as a visual aid is helpful for grabbing attention and sticking in minds.

When putting up signs, remember that these kitchen-safety tips are meant to make employees aware and keep safety at the front of everyone’s mind. They should be helpful reminders that it’s everyone’s job to make food and personal safety a priority.

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