Health & Safety Tips for Caterers

Posted 7 March 2014
Written by Lisa Jacobs

We provide a tour of a typical pub or restaurant and share a few areas of concern and some top tips.

Customer Toilets

•Regular checks to identify hazards such as overflowing basins.
•Prompt action to dry wet floors so as to reduce slip incidents.
•Make sure there is a supply of soap and hand towels or hand drying facilities.


•Regular checks for uneven surfaces. If there are any, try to reduce the likelihood for trips by highlighting the defective areas.
•Make sure any gas heaters are properly secured and that they cannot be tampered with by customers.
•Ensure good lighting to the area.

Children's Play Areas

•Check all play equipment daily - look for defects, broken equipment, wood splinters.
•Display hazard warning signs and information for parents about safe play.
•Have a risk assessment in place and ensure that the people who carry out the checks or any supervision are competent.

Car Parks

•Provide good lighting to all areas.
•Ensure that surfaces are free from potholes or trip hazards.
•If parking space provided for disabled customers, make sure it is unobstructed, provided with suitable signs and suitable for use.

Trade Waste Areas

•Check for signs of pests.
•Keep lids on all bins to prevent refuse spilling over as this attracts pests and can be a fire hazard.
•Provide a water standpipe if possible so that the area can be cleaned down regularly.

Bar Areas

•Ensure that everything is stored securely so as to prevent items falling.
•Keep the floor clean and dry and clear up spilt drinks quickly and dry the floor.
Train staff in how to use all the equipment, how to deal with aggressive customers, how to deal with disabled customers.

Customer Areas

•Make sure any decorations/ornaments are secured in place so as to prevent them falling onto customers or being purposely removed.
•If you have a real fire, make sure it is properly controlled and not likely to cause burns to customers. Compile a risk assessment.
•Any changes in level should be properly highlighted with contrasting nosings and lighting in these areas should be good.


•Keep all raw and cooked food preparation separate.
•Ensure all staff have basic food hygiene training and are trained to use the equipment.
•Make sure that the wash hand basin is in a usable condition with copious amounts of soap and hand towels.

Guest Accommodation

•Ensure that you have a Fire Safety Plan and Fire Risk Assessment and that guests know what to do in an emergency.
•Any electrical equipment provided for guests must be in a good condition and safe to use so ensure regular checks are carried out.
Train all staff in manual handling so that they know how to make beds, change mattresses etc.

Banquets, Functions and Events

•Do not display food at ambient temperatures for more than 4 hours.
•Do not reheat foods - if not used within 4 hours, throw it away.
•Check your safe occupancy figures - having more people at the venue than you are safely allowed is dangerous and an offence.

Employing Staff

•Ensure that you have a Health and Safety Policy and that all staff are aware of it.
•Ensure that you have risk assessments for all activities where there is a significant risk of injury.
•Regular training for all staff in fire safety, health and safety and food safety is essential and a legal requirement. It also makes for a better and more profitable business


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