Risk Management & Safety Training: Why You Need to Have It!

July 09, 2013 | 918 Views

Risk Management & Safety Training: Why You Need to Have It!

Jason Lyon, FMP

Risk management.  It's not a bad word, so why don’t we talk about it more in terms of training?  In most hospitality industry conversations, the focus typically is on skill training – how do I train so employees will deliver top notch food and service execution which brings our guests through the front doors again and again.

There are several reasons why we need to incorporate risk management into our training conversations:

Lessons Learned: While just one or two “freak” accidents may be at the root cause of your losses, which was the case for us, your insurance company will not hesitate to hold you to a higher level of accountability in all areas.  Take it seriously and train your way to stronger practices or you may find yourself in a high risk pool; unquotable by insurance companies.  Three year cycles determine your “modification calculation” (MOD rate) which is used to set your annual premiums. Unfortunately, after incurring an extremely high MOD rate in two out of the past three years we found ourselves with over a 25% rise in our premium for this coming policy year.  Trust me; you do not want to land in the open market with sky high rates as that will shrink your bottom line.

New Focus: I now find myself examining not only the emphasis we place on safe workplace practices but also the scope and breadth to which we provide risk management training to both our management teams as well as front line employees.  It is important that everyone is on the same page.

It’s crucial we go beyond the standard “knife safety training video” or merely encourage the wearing of slip resistant shoes while explaining how to use the “wet floor” sign.  Just pointing out the facility’s “MSD Sheets” for cleaning chemicals is not enough.  With the cost associated with injuries escalating, the importance of establishing a comprehensive risk management program with pro-active on-going training is being put at the fore front by insurers looking to make their profit margin on your policy.

While restaurant and lodging facilities are not usually compared to a manufacturing plant, the injuries are similar.  Did you know the top two injury categories are slips, trips and falls as well as burns, cuts and lacerations?

Too Busy?  Rolling out or even maintaining another program certainly seems daunting or perhaps absolutely absurd at a time when our resources and departments have been downsized; however, it is also an opportunity for you to show increased value as well as a higher ROI for your department.

What Next? Much of your safety training can be incorporated into daily task training of new employees.  For those already on the job, quick in-house refreshers can help bring increased awareness to their daily practices.  When developing or retooling a program, keep the following in mind:


Above all else, keep in mind the safety behavior practiced today not only affects your profit margin of tomorrow but also the health and well-being in the lives of your employees.

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