Slips and Falls: Keep Your Customer's Feet Safely On The Ground

Safety in Numbers

Slips and falls continue to be the highest risk to restaurant owners and account for 70% of litigated claims, reported by Marsh’s Restaurant Industry segment. Of the approximately 40% that could be categorized by accident location, 28% occurred inside a restaurant and 72% occurred outside.

With more than one million guests injured annually as a result of restaurant slips and falls, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, we don't see safety in these numbers. While not every accident is preventable, there are many precautions you can take to protect your customers and make visits an enjoyable experience. 

Inside Your Restaurant

Entrance and Foyer

Keep the entrance and foyer of your business safe and inviting for customers:

  • In wet weather, a walk-off mat should be provided to absorb the water from wet shoes.
  • Replace saturated mats frequently during bad weather and mop any standing water.
  • Use portable "Wet Floor" signs both inside and outside to alert customers.
  • Improperly maintained mats can create trip hazards even in dry weather.
  • Limit the difference in heights between the floor and mats to no more than a 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Dining Areas and Restrooms

These busy areas can present the same conditions as the entry way due to spills (food or drink) or wet footwear:

  • Train staff to clean up spills as soon they, or guests, spot them and use “Wet Floor” signs.
  • During peak business hours, mop only the areas that need immediate attention.
  • All flooring should be checked on a weekly basis with immediate corrective action taken if any unsafe conditions are noted.
  • In addition to water, discarded paper products left on the floor may create risks.

Chairs

  • Faulty chairs can collapse. Inspect them weekly and remove damaged items from the property so they cannot be put back into use.
  • Remember to also thoroughly inspect children’s high chairs.

Outside Your Restuarant

Parking Lots, Sidewalks, and Steps

Ensure customers can safely enter the restaurant regardless of weather conditions or time of day:

  • Walkways should be clean and level, free of potholes, depressions, or cracks.
  • Install a sturdy, secure handrail on both sides of steps.
  • Ensure adequate lighting for nighttime use.
  • Downspouts should empty away from walkway areas.
  • Pre-arrange for snow removal after each storm depending on your area of the country.
  • Have sand or ice melting chemicals available to assist as melting and re-freezing occurs.

Play It Safe

While not every accident can be avoided, being vigilante and taking simple precautions can help protect your customers. Safety is an essential component of daily restaurant operations and employees should view safety as a priority. Regularly review with employees the proper guidelines on maintaining a clean working environment while keeping things safe and clean for the customers, as well as themselves.

Resources:

3 Slip-Ups in Slip-and-Fall Prevention in Restaurants
National Floor Safety Institute
National Restaurant Association – Preventing Slips and Falls