Business Franchise Australia


Top OHS Measures To Cover In Your Commercial Kitchen Space


Establishing and setting up a commercial kitchen requires more than just culinary skills. Kitchens can be chaotic environments, so commercial chefs and restaurant managers also need to have exceptional organisational skills. These skills are naturally also key when it comes to making sure that your establishment adheres to all of the industry’s health and safety regulations. 


Whether you’re operating a small café or a large restaurant, it’s crucial that you prioritise health and safety. After all, most if not all considerate business owners would agree that adhering to OHS standards isn’t merely a legal regulation but also a moral imperative. 


Want to know more about how to keep your kitchen safe? Here are three key essentials that can be incorporated into your commercial kitchen space to ensure that health and safety standards are met and maintained.


Fulfilling OHS Responsibilities 

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) are significant regulations in protecting workers from hazards in the workplace. Within a commercial kitchen environment, these regulations are particularly important because they involve tasks with high risk. If you fail to comply with the OHS responsibilities, you may put your employees and customers in great danger and you could face legal consequences which lead to the damage to your reputation. Hence, complying with OHS regulations is essential for maintaining a safe working environment in your commercial kitchen and avoiding potential legal consequences.


1. Regular Equipment Maintenance

Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment is crucial for following the safety standards. An aspect of equipment maintenance that people often overlook is the fire blanket. To make sure that the fire blanket always works perfectly, you will need to develop a maintenance schedule that includes a fire blanket testing that inspect the wear and tear, damage, or expired expiration dates. 

You may also need to replace any faulty or outdated fire blankets and other fire suppression measures (i.e. fire extinguishers) promptly to ensure that they are ready for use in case of an emergency. By prioritising this safety equipment testing and maintenance and ensuring that your equipment and practices abide by Australian Standards, you can minimise the risk of equipment failure during emergency situations.


2. Legislative Requirements

Compliance with the OHS legislation is what you need to ensure a safe workplace for your employees. Each State and Territory in Australia has its own OHS Act outlining the duties of employers, including franchisees. These duties give clear rules on how to maintain a safe working environment for employees, as well as addressing risks to health and prioritising safety measures. 

Another thing that can be kept in mind will be the Codes of Practice. These codes often provide very clear and user-friendly information on how you can adhere to specific requirements of the legislation. 


3. Managing hazards

When you are running a kitchen, you will always need to deal with hazards. The first step in hazard management is to recognize potential hazards, which is to identify potential risks in the workplace that could cause injury, illness, or damage. To begin, conduct regular walkthroughs of the workplace to observe and assess potential hazards. It’s also important to gain valuable insights from the employees as they can have firsthand experiences. 

The second step is assessing risk which can be done by determining their likelihood of causing harm. You’ll need to consider factors such as the frequency and duration of exposure to the hazard, as well as potential consequences in the event of an incident. Prioritising hazards based on their level of risk will help you to create a better action and thus addressing them more effectively. 

The last step is to prevent hazards or mitigate risks. The best way to do so is to remove the hazards such as replacing faulty equipment, removing dangerous machinery, or addressing unsafe conditions promptly. Another way is to minimise the hazard by replacing hazardous substances, machines, or tasks with safer alternatives.


Consult with Franchisees

If you’re operating with or are looking to develop a universal safety system as a franchisor and for your franchisees, maintaining health and safety standards across all locations is essential for brand integrity and customer trust. 


And if you’re a franchisee, remember that you have a right to inquire about any safety or OHS measures that you feel may be in need of an update. Whenever you’re in doubt, do not hesitate to communicate with your franchisor.


Alongside maintaining open lines of communication, there are two other key ways that you can use to effectively consult with franchisees to ensure uniformity in health and safety practices.


1. Maintain a Comprehensive Diary

Documentary evidence of ongoing improvement is crucial because keeping a detailed diary will always create a safer work environment. In your diary, you can include risk assessments, training initiatives, and corrective measures. This will help you to demonstrate compliance with The model Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) but also serves as a valuable resource for future audits or inquiries.


2. Seek Independent Legal Advice

Both franchisors and franchisees should seek independent legal advice to confirm the level and nature of shared responsibility for WHS. As you may not be familiar with all the legal duties, legal guidance will thus be essential for understanding WHS obligations and avoiding legal liabilities.


Ensuring Franchise Compliance with New Food Safety Regulations

Another important thing to bear in mind will be the new changes in food safety regulations taking effect. It is crucial for franchises to proactively address compliance challenges. The new Australian Standard 3.2.2.A introduces additional requirements for food businesses across all states and territories in Australia, posing potential hurdles for many establishments. 


Franchises must prioritise centralised management of compliance documents to navigate the complexities of the updated regulations effectively. This means that having all compliance documents in one accessible location is crucial. Storing records online allows for streamlined reporting and facilitates the demonstration of training levels for each employee. 


This also involves maintaining organised records, ensuring accreditation of Food Safety Supervisors (FSS), and providing consistent support to franchisees. By prioritising these measures, franchises can uphold regulatory standards while safeguarding the well-being of customers and employees.


With all these essential health and safety standards and best practices in mind, you are now ready to go with improving the safety of your commercial kitchen space. Always remember to consult with your local health department or regulatory agency if you have any problems. They can provide guidance and assistance to ensure that your kitchen meets all necessary standards and regulations.