When it comes to running a successful business, safety rates very high on the list. Burns, cuts, falls and food quality are of course the most common concerns in a café. But there are other things to watch out for that can impact workplace health and safety.

Here are the top three

Early starts, long shifts, hours on feet and the stress of keeping up with customer expectation can wear down the hardiest of staff to the point of total burnout.

A tired worker is a liability, prone to making more mistakes than usual, which will have a massive effect on how they communicate with others, make the right decisions and evaluate risks.

While your staff should be responsible for getting enough sleep when they’re off duty, it is important that they aren’t being overworked and get ample time-off between shifts.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, workers should have at least one break if they work for more than four hours.

Wear and tear

This doesn’t happen only to equipment. Carrying plates, handling pots and pans and opening heavy doors all day long can result in Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) for staff as well. This can cause muscle strain and discomfort in the neck, back, arms and hands.

Staff with RSI are entitled to time-off or a change in responsibilities while they recover. To reduce the effects of repetitive strain, change up staff duties where possible and talk to your team about what tasks cause discomfort or pain. You might find it worthwhile to call in a (Work, Health & Safety) WHS rep to give your café the once-over and help you make any necessary adjustments.

Keep an eye on the young ‘uns

Your teen and tween staff might not like to hear this, but according to Safe Work Australia, one in five workplace injuries happens to workers under the age of 25.

Given that young people often start their careers at the counter or in the kitchen, their safety should be your top priority.

Here’s what you can do

Communication is key to preventing workplace injury. Make sure your café has clear WHS procedures in place. Train your staff and do regular checks to ensure that they’re complying with what they’ve been taught.

Put peers in place

Assign an older staff member to keep watch and let you know if your younger staff need extra guidance.

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