As cliche as they are, videos work in providing consistent training. However, employees must be told that the video they’re watching is not mere entertainment, but an investment in their safety. “You have to put responsibility in their hands,” the floor-care source says.
A good training video should teach employees, among other things, to:
* Bend from the knees when wringing out a mop (to prevent back injury).
* Mop in an S-motion to make it easier on the arm and back muscles.
* Mop, rinse and dry-mop small sections at a time.
* Mop under equipment.
* And, above all, put up the plastic caution markers when mopping.
Floor-care training also includes a good measure of common sense, says Dick Richards of the OnGenius blog. For instance, employees should be told to sweep up debris before they begin mopping, and to make sure the mop water and solution are fresh. “If the water and mop head are dirty and greasy, you’re not cleaning – you’re just relocating grease and grime,” says the expert.
Chemical cautions. Even though most floor-cleaning chemicals are mild acid-based compounds, improperly handled concentrate can still cause rashes and burns. In addition, ill-trained employees tend to overdo it on the solution. “They think if one glop is good, two glops are better and three are great,” the source explains. Meticulous training, or better yet, a system that dispenses just the right amount into the bucket, will help prevent chemical abuse.
Some operators skirt the issue by using mild, “environmentally friendly” products. The Story Inn, a restaurant and bed-and-breakfast in Nashville, Ind., uses such cleaners on its slate kitchen floor and hardwood dining-room floor, partly to ensure that the 100-year-old surfaces aren’t harmed, says General Manager Susan Barrett.
In the kitchen, employees first spray the floor with grease-releaser, then mop it with a mild solution, rinse and dry mop. Employees on mop duty are careful to clean inside the walk-in as well as the kitchen proper, Barrett says.
At the inn, the natural approach even works in emergency situations. Awhile back, someone spilled oil-and-vinegar dressing during a rush period, and there wasn’t time to clean it. A cook threw a handful of salt on the mess, which created traction on the spill and in fact made it easier to pick up later, Barrett recalls.
The mopping schedule. Operations such as McDonald’s seem to be constantly mopping, while the kitchen schedule and layout of a Chili’s unit allows mopping once a night. Spills, however, should be cleaned as soon as possible, and a thorough mop at closing is necessary. The closing-time mop should include scrubbing the floor with a deck brush to loosen ground-in dirt and a thorough rinsing to follow.
Although there aren’t any simple tests to tell whether a mopped floor is well done, the tile should look dull and dry.
Contributing Editor Lisa Bertagnoli is a former R&I managing editor who writes frequently about foodservice equipment.
IF SOMEONE FALLS….
The best way to handle slips and falls is to prevent them. Customers should be warned about freshly mopped areas with plastic markets. In addition, a cleaning compound just on the market gives floors traction even when they’re wet.
Still, these measures won’t prevent all falls. If a customer should take a spill, follow these guidelines to minimize the fallout, says a source at a large floor-care company.
1. Attend to the person’s injuries. Most injuries relating to falling in a restaurant are slight, the source says, with the majority of claims under $2,500. If the person isn’t injuries, the damage to his or her ego usually can be fixed with free food.
2. Document the accident. Inspect the are and write down what happened. Was the floor dry? Wet? Had something spilled? Usually insurance carriers will provide a form on which to detail accidents. And doing so is important, the source says. “Don’t rely on the memory of an employee who might not be around when the claim finally gets processed,” he says.
3. Don’t admit negligence. Off-handed statements such as “Boy, that floor is always slippery,” or “Wow, someone fell on that same spot just last week,” open the restaurant to punitive damages, “You’re saying you know you had a problem but didn’t do enough to solve it,” says the floor-care expert.
4. Assume the fall is legitimate. Some con artists make a decent living “falling” in public places, then suing for damages. However, assuming the customer on the floor is a scammer when he or she isn’t can only worsen the situation.