Restaurant Spill Clean-Up: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Most spills that occur in restaurants are not large and do not require a massive response, however, a spill of any kind can lead to a slip and fall injury if it is not handled appropriately. Spill clean-up is something to discuss with your staff before a spill ever occurs and a standard spill clean-up plan should be a part of routine staff training. A spill clean-up plan helps ensure that your staff knows exactly how to handle a spill, which will result in consistent responses to any spill. A quick and orderly response to a spill in your restaurant will not only control the situation, but will show your guests just how professional your staff is.

How to Effectively Clean Up a Spill

Spill clean-up does not have to be complicated. Almost any spill can be handled with just a few easy steps:

  1. Identify that a spill has occurred and make sure the source of the spill has stopped making the spill worse.
  2. Display signs to alert customers that the hazard exists.
  3. While you retrieve the spill clean-up kit, have someone stand by the spill to alert customers to the spill. Never leave a spill unattended.
  4. Sweep up broken glass or other debris.
  5. Mop up the spill or apply absorbent and sweep it up after the liquid is soaked up.
  6. Use a squeegee, wet-dry vacuum, clean and dry mop, or towels to dry the area. Leave the wet floor signs in place until the area is completely dry.

Download this poster “How to Effectively Clean Up a Spill” in English or Spanish to display for your employees.

What to Put in Your Spill Clean-Up Kit

It may be helpful to put together a spill response kit so your staff knows exactly where they can quickly grab everything they might need in one designated location. A small metal trash can or cart may be handy for holding and transporting all you need in one convenient kit. A few items to consider for a good spill clean-up kit are:

  1. Paper or cloth towels
  2. Roll of heavy-duty trash bags
  3. Handheld broom and dustpan
  4. Large sponge(s)
  5. Kitty litter or absorbent granules
  6. Plastic gloves for personal protection

Spill clean-up is not complicated, but when a spill occurs it must be dealt with appropriately. Restaurant management should train staff in advance so that when a spill does occur they can respond quickly, confidently, and consistently. Spills will happen and it is our responsibility be prepared.

For more safety solutions, browse through our Risk Control Library for handouts and useful websites to help facilitate your safety and health efforts.

-Shelby Blundell

Author

Shelby has a master's degree from St. Louis University's School of Public Health. He has worked as a Risk Improvement Representative for Society Insurance since 2010. Shelby has been a safety and risk management resource for contractors, supermarkets, convenience stores, the hospitality industry, health care and higher education. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the Insurance Loss Control Association (ILCA).

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