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Are your staff ready and prepared for the festive season?

A server using a tablet stood by a Christmas tree

It may seem a little too early to start thinking about Christmas but businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors will have already begun to plan ahead in order to get ready for a hopefully busy and lucrative season. 

With COVID spoiling many get-togethers for the majority of those in the UK over the last year, this December will be the first opportunity for many to make up for lost time and catch up with family and friends. Therefore leading up to the festive period and the New Year, retailers, event companies, hotels, restaurants, pubs and other food businesses are likely to be rushed off their feet as demand for their services will be high.

While the festive plans may be very much in hand, how can you handle your mandatory workplace training and ensure your staff are a top priority when it comes to running your business?

We look at some key areas which will not only help you prepare for the upcoming busy period, but also show you how you can simply handle training of your employees, whether they need refresher training or are temporary seasonal workers.

Food safety & hygiene training

It is a legal requirement to provide food hygiene training to all staff that handle food. Make sure you check if any staff need to renew their food hygiene certificates or if there will be any seasonal staff that need training in this area as part of their enrolment. Being prepared and getting training in place before the festive season is in full swing will pay off. Not only will it help your business run more smoothly if your staff are confident that they know what is expected when it comes to food safety and hygiene, your reputation depends on it. No food business wants any consumers to come to any harm from the consumption of their food, as ultimately it could result in closure.  

We offer Level 1, 2 and 3 Food Safety & Hygiene training so you can be sure to enrol staff on the required level. Not sure which level they require then check out this blog

Also make sure your staff are up-to-date with any food allergy requirements, particularly in light of the new legislation coming into force on 1st October 2021,  concerning pre-packed food products for direct sale.

Fire awareness

Fire has devastating effects, so it makes sense to take a preventative approach and ensure your business takes some time to complete a comprehensive fire risk assessment. Within the hospitality and retail environments fire poses a significant safety risk, not only to employees but also the customers on site, which are likely to be in larger numbers during busy periods. There are many hazards such as kitchens which may use open flames, or large quantities of stock which is highly flammable, as well as a lot of electrical equipment. Businesses must comply with fire safety laws and all staff must receive appropriate training. Our fire awareness training course can be completed in 30 minutes to help staff understand how fire spreads, what to do in the event of a fire and how to prevent it.

Manual handling

According to the HSE, over 30% of food and drink industry injuries are as a result of manual handling. Often these musculoskeletal injuries, such as a back injury, are caused by heavy lifting. During busy periods there will be a lot of deliveries of goods and more staff than usual may be required to lift, move and carry these items to stock rooms or shop floors. Anyone who is required to do this must undergo manual handling training to help prevent injury and ensure the correct techniques are used when lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying a load. Our manual handling course will help equip your staff with the knowledge they need to stay safe when carrying out any manual handling task.

Working in licenced premises

The sale and supply of alcohol must be controlled, and it is an important responsibility all year round, but over the festive season alcohol consumption will increase meaning servers need to be extra vigilant! Make sure your staff are prepared and understand The Licencing Act and know how to carry out age verification, which is a mandatory licencing condition. Breach of your licence can result in some heavy penalties. Our bar staff training will help you provide appropriate knowledge to any staff that may be required to sell alcohol and help them understand their responsibilities. 

Infection prevention and COSHH

Covid still poses a threat to the upcoming festive season, however the chance of another peak of infections and what that means for businesses is unknown. COVID risk assessments will help your business manage the risk of infection. Measures such as additional cleaning, working in bubbles or ensuring adequate ventilation are all sensible precautions and can help keep your business running smoothly. Ensure staff know that if they display any COVID symptoms they should stay away and arrange a PCR test. Being on top of this will help prevent the spread of infection and decrease the risk of having to make unplanned closures.

We offer an online Infection Prevention and control course which helps staff understand how infection spreads, who’s at risk and how it can be prevented. At a time when coughs and colds are prevalent, and COVID remains a threat, this course can provide reassurance to staff that everyone in the organisation takes infection prevention seriously and can play a role in keeping illness from spreading. Staff absences during what will hopefully be the busiest time of the year, could cause business owners a headache when it comes to ensuring they have the correct staffing levels. 

With extra cleaning regimes in place, businesses need to be mindful of the implications on COSHH. Cleaning products, such as disinfectant, can be hazardous to those using it. Make sure anyone who handles hazardous substances is up to date with their COSHH training. Our 25 minute course is perfect to educate your workers about handling hazardous substances, the effects of exposure, understanding COSHH hazard symbols and what to do in the event of an emergency.

The importance of training

Not only is it a legal responsibility to provide staff with the necessary training but it will also give your staff the confidence to complete their roles safely and confidently. Undergoing relevant training particularly during busy times will help your staff remember what they have learnt and put it into practise even when they are under pressure. 

You are also more likely to retain and attract staff if you have a good training plan in place, as it shows you value them and consider their health, safety and wellbeing to be a priority.

Our approved and accredited eLearning is the perfect solution for your hospitality or retail business when it comes to training your staff. Our courses are easy to access, through a range of devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones, and you can instantly download certificates on successful completion of each course, as well as keep accurate training records. It is cost effective, and the presenter-led, video based content provides a training experience your staff will love!

We wish you all the best for the festive season!  Remember we're on hand at all times to support you with any staff training needs! Start a free trial of our courses or get in touch today if you want to find out more!

Essential training for hospitality and retail staff
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