There are a number of different areas of concern food service operators must keep in mind in order to run an efficient, successful and attractive business. Managers must work to create a welcoming atmosphere, provide a high level of customer service, offer delicious hospital menu selections and balance the needs of their staff members. However, all of these requirements will fall flat if the hospital food service facility suffers in terms of sanitation and general employee hygiene.
Even if workers are competent and friendly, it’s easy for staff members to slip in regard to sanitary workplace practices. Not only can this cause the cleanliness of the overall establishment to falter, but it can land food service managers in trouble with health inspectors. By keeping the following considerations in mind, operators can ensure that their employees follow the proper guidelines for creating a safe and hygienic food service environment.
Provide protective employee apparel
One of the best and most effective ways to ensure a health-conscious food service operation is to ensure employees are fitted with the right apparel and protective coverings, especially for culinary staff members working in the kitchen and food preparation areas. Employees with long hair should always tie their hair back and wear hairnets. This will minimize the chances that stray or loose hairs will come into contact with food while cooking.
Similarly, kitchen employees should always wear gloves when handling food. A fresh pair of protective gloves can prevent the transfer of germs or bacteria from the hands to the food and vice versa. Gloves designed to withstand high temperature and sharp objects will also shield employees’ hands from burns and cuts. Kitchen staff members may also want to wear aprons and thick clothing to protect their bodies from splattering grease and food spillage when working with kitchen appliances.
Ban unsanitary kitchen behavior
When employees are working in the kitchen, it’s vital that they perform their work in a hygienic fashion. Even behaviors that are not seemingly unsanitary can actually cause issues with cross contamination with exposed food items. For instance, employees should never eat or drink when working in the kitchen, as food particles or spilled fluids could easily fall into meals being prepared by other staff members. Managers should provide a separate space for workers to enjoy their meals away from the kitchen. Similarly, tobacco products must never be used inside the kitchen or anywhere where food is handled.
While it may seem too obvious to mention, it’s essential that employees wash their hands frequently throughout the day to deal with germs or bacteria that may be hitching a ride.
Keep tabs on sick employees
Everyone gets sick at one point or another – some people more than others. However, while office workers may be able to trudge on through their ailments, sickness and the food service industry have no business being together. Under no circumstances should food service operators allow their employees to come into work when sick, as their illness could easily contaminate food or be transferred to other workers and customers.
Even someone with a runny nose or an occasional cough could be hampering the sanitary operations that an eatery has worked to implement. Food service managers should educate their staff members on the dangers of working while sick and encourage workers to either go home or perform in a limited capacity until they have recovered.
Proper hygiene practices regarding ill staff members are even more essential for managers working in hospitals and related healthcare environments, as many of the people eating in their facilities may be recuperating from surgery or fighting off an infection. Doctors also need to stay germ-free in order to provide high quality care for their patients.