Accidents happen even in well-organized walk-in coolers. Between the constant influx of employees, new products, and customer interaction, if you have glass bottles on your walk-in shelves you will likely at some point have broken glass. Keep these three tips in mind when educating employees on what to do when glass breaks.
Put Out the Hazard Cones
Your cooler is likely a high-traffic area, with a customer-facing retail side and a back end for your staff. When an unsafe situation occurs inside an area where employees restock shelves, and saleable perishables present themselves to hungry customers, you’ll want to make sure to protect yourself from liability. While the situation is being assessed, client-facing walk-in cooler doors should be temporarily locked. This will keep customer exposure to a minimum, and allow your staff to contain the problem without distraction or injury on the retail side.
Locate the Broken Product
Before attempting to remove any glass, you should first determine where it came from, and whether the client-facing shelving system was affected. Look closely at the shelf where the bottle brand is stocked to locate any evidence of the errant liquid or glass. Removal of all adjacent and affected bottles and thorough vacuuming of the nearby shelves in your walk-in cooler is necessary. If it looks like the impact occurred close to the floor, it is important to remove the items stored at floor level, and depending on the severity of the debris, clean and/or discard them.
Cleanliness Is Everything in the Walk-In
When it comes to consumables in a retail environment, liability is a huge concern. If a glass bottle breaks in the walk-in, your first instinct might be to grab the dustpan and broom and get to work. This is obviously a necessary and productive step, but it can easily turn disastrous if the floor of your walk-in freezer is covered in soft drink and beer residue. If the floor is a sticky mess, the broken glass will simply stick to it and sweeping it will just grind the glass into the residue, making the whole situation more problematic.
If you’re dealing with a sticky floor making the dustpan and broom virtually useless, your next best step is to employ the shop vacuum. Since shop vacuums are equipped to handle wet and dry matter, you can easily adapt the unit to the situation at hand. Lesson learned: a spotless walk-in cooler floor will be much easier to clean in an emergency than a sticky, neglected one.
Once the source of the broken glass has been located, and the surrounding areas are thoroughly cleaned, your walk-in cooler can be reopened for business.