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Industry Focus Archive

Hospitality Industry

Hospitality is a big industry in Australia, with an estimated 534,000 employees working in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, as of 2014, which is expected to grow by 123,000 by 2020. (  It is a fast paced, high volume environment, that demands employees be on their feet for up to 14 hours a day, delivering high quality service to the needs of customers. Competition is quite strong in this industry, which promotes a lot of change in the workplace, very quickly.  Because of this, it is important for employers to not forget their duty of care, not only to their staff, but to their customers as well. The best way to achieve this is to identify the hazards found in the workplace, and then work on managing and minimising the risks they pose. Being the industry that it is, it is not always possible to eliminate these risks, but they can be managed.

The common hazards found in most Hospitality workplaces will include, but are not limited to:

  • Hot liquids, hot surfaces, steam – These are common hazards usually found in the preparation of food, or beverages, and from equipment.

  • Chemicals – A hazard found in the use of cleaning products.

  • Electrical equipment and appliances – This can include Ovens, Fridges, Microwaves and even Toasters.

  • Fire – A very real, and dangerous hazard that can happen at any moment. Fires may be caused by cooking equipment, fans or other electrical equipment or even decorative candles.

  • Hot conditions – Which can occur from working outside on a hot day, or even in doors in a poorly vented Kitchen, or small spaces with a lot of equipment.

  • Knives and sharp tools – The risk of serious cuts represents a significant portion of workers compensation claims for this industry (see

  • Machinery and equipment – This can include coffee machines and kitchen equipment.

  • Manual tasks – Manual tasks represent another significant risk to the hospitality industry.

  • Noise – Be aware of the amount of noise being produced in your workplace. Noisy equipment can cause damage to the ears of your staff and your customers, and let’s face it, customers will probably avoid your business if it is too noisy.

  • Slips, trips and falls – Food spills and wet floors represent a significant risk to business owners in the hospitality industry.

  • Personal security – Personal security is important to not only protect your staff and customers’ wellbeing, but also your assets.

  • Workplace Harassment – Part of promoting a safe environment, is promoting a healthy and non-toxic environment. Be aware and mindful of the wellbeing of employees. Work can be stressful, especially in customer service oriented industries.

  • Young workers – Statistics tell us that young workers are more likely to be injured than older workers and this is most likely because of their lack of experience. Young workers, particularly those in their first job, need careful supervision to ensure they do not injure themselves


The best way to managing hazards in your workplace is to have a list of potential hazards you have noticed on the site. It is also important to ask, and get input from others, especially staff, to spot things you might have missed. Encourage a safe workplace, so that staff will be on the lookout for potential hazards as part of their work routine. It doesn’t necessarily require you to stop work to do it.

There are plenty of great resources you can use to help you make your business a safe workplace.

Managing Health and Safety in Food Retail –


CafeSafe – Health and Safety in the Hospitality Industry –

Moore McPhee WHS Consultants specialise in the needs of small and medium businesses. We are here to help and can provide cost effective solutions for your business. Contact us on 1300 362 351, or speak directly to our Senior Principal Consultant Vanessa Moore on 0401 382 083 or at [email protected] for a confidential discussion about your particular work health and safety needs.

Disclaimer: Any advice and information in this article is general in nature, does not take into account particular circumstances and should not be construed as professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the information in this article is prepared for South Australian Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking as defined in the SA Work Health and Safety Act 2012 only. The information may be applicable to other states of Australia that have adopted the harmonised work health and safety legislation but is not guaranteed.

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