Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SIF members weigh in on safety seriousness

When it comes to safety, how aware are your employees to the risk of injury in their workplace environment? It only takes a second for an accident to occur and whether it’s in a restaurant, office, retail floor or warehouse, “safety first” is an affirmation for all of us, no matter our location.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association Self Insurer’s Fund (LRA SIF) provides its members with monthly safety meeting topics for managers and supervisors to conduct in an effort to reduce injuries. They include: slips, trips and falls; cuts and lacerations, back and lifting safety, burns, first aid, driver safety, electrical safety, fire safety, robbery prevention, among others. 
“It’s always a great idea to have a fresh set of eyes looking at your operations for safety hazards,” said Lindsay Midgett, area supervisor for Idora, Inc., which owns 10 Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchens in Lake Charles and its surrounding areas. “Being in the business every day, it’s so easy to overlook safety hazards.” 

With that many locations, Midgett’s store managers and supervisors use the LRA SIF monthly safety meeting sheets to cover the necessary topics to help curtail any accidents. He also appreciates LRA SIF site inspections to further prevent claims and said his top three safety concerns are slips and falls, fryer burns and cuts.  

“Just a few weeks ago, Victor Balbuena, [LRA SIF VP of Loss Prevention] did an inspection and pointed out something that I’d been stepping over and didn’t even realize,” said Midgett, who’s in charge of safety and human resources for the company. 

Creating a culture of safety starts at the top, but is not management’s responsibility alone.  New Orleans Country Club General Manager Bobby Crifasi has, at most, 200 employees to oversee and has created a task force of sorts to emphasis safety.  

“Our seven department heads make up our Safety Committee,” explained Crifasi. “Each week they meet and inspect one of their respective areas of the operation for possible hazards. We also reward line level employees for pointing out possible safety issues. ”  

Buy-in from all staff members is critical in preventing injuries. It really helps to have the staff assist with monitoring other employee activity when management isn’t present.

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