Restaurant and cafe inspection program uncovers areas of concern

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A proactive inspection program covering a two-year period looking at safety in restaurants and cafes has uncovered several areas of concern within the industry.

The proactive inspection program, carried out by WorkSafe inspectors over the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years, focused on restaurants and cafes across metropolitan and regional areas of the State.

A total of 225 workplaces were visited as part of the program, and 1364 improvement notices and nine prohibition notices were issued.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Joe Attard said today the restaurant and café sector had been identified as a sector with a high rate of lost time injuries.

“Over the five-year period 2009/10 to 2013/14, employees in restaurants and cafés in WA suffered more than a thousand injuries that required them to take time off work,” Mr Attard said.

“Of these, 190 were severe injuries that kept the employee off work for 60 days or more, a statistic that we felt warranted inspectors taking a closer look at the sector.

“Restaurants employ a high number of young workers and have a relatively high turnover of employees.  Many of these young workers are students on overseas working visas.

“This combination of young workers and high turnover of staff makes issues such as adequate training a high priority, especially when it comes to manual tasks, slips, trips and falls, burns, knife safety and the use of hazardous substances.”

Of the 1364 improvement notices issued over the two years of inspection programs, the greatest number (498 notices) related to hazardous substances – mainly for training and risk assessment records, registers and labelling of hazardous substances and practicable control measures.

Another 375 improvement notices related to emergency precautions – evacuation procedures, first aid training and facilities, fire extinguishers and emergency egress from cool rooms.

A total of 183 notices were issued in relation to manual tasks and slips, trips and falls.

The manual tasks notices mainly related to information, instruction and training, risk assessments and practicable control measures.  Notices issued for slips, trips and falls were mainly in relation to floor surfaces, ladders, obstructions on floors, stairs or ramps and the use of milk crates.

A total of 160 improvement notices related to electricity issues – testing, labelling and installation of residual current devices (RCDs), use of double adaptors, maintenance of switchboards and power points and condition of electrical cords.

“These are all serious safety issues in workplaces, and for that reason we will maintain contact with the sector and monitor its statistics, and seriously consider further inspection programs in related sectors within the Food Services industry,” Mr Attard said.

“The primary aim of all WorkSafe’s proactive inspection programs is to provide employers with information on how to make their workplaces safer and, as a consequence, reduce work-related injury and illness.

“However a large number of notices were issued during this inspection program, so we will need to monitor compliance levels in this industry into the future.

“We continue to firmly believe that raising awareness with proactive inspection campaigns is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”

Further information on working safely can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

Media release
22 Apr 2016

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