As the holiday season approaches, colder temperatures and inclement weather will descend on many regions in the U.S. This can quickly turn silver bells into operational hell for restaurant operators who do not account for the increase in patrons and precipitation in their floor maintenance program. To help restaurant operators and risk managers maximize the safety of their safe floor efforts, Cintas Corporation, a nationwide leader in safe floor programs, today announced 12 steps for holiday floor safety. Cintas will discuss these steps and other seasonal considerations for floor safety during its upcoming webinar “ Safe Floors throughout the Year” scheduled on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. EST. “Mix holiday parties with seasonal precipitation and you have a recipe for an injury if your restaurant doesn’t have a safe floor program in place,” said David Collette, Director of Marketing, Cintas Foodservice. “By using our checklist, restaurants operators can help protect patrons and their reputation.” 1. Protect entryways. Every exterior door should have several steps of matting leading into and out of it. Outside the building, use scraper mats to help remove particles before they enter the restaurant. Place walk-off matting inside the door to absorb water and help prevent puddles from forming. Keep additional mats on hand to prepare for additional foot traffic during the holidays. 2. Position mops for easy access. Rather than hiding mops in the back of the house where they are less likely to be used, place a mop in front of the house areas where hostesses and attendants can easily retrieve it whenever they see a water spot or spill. 3. Assign someone to oversee the effort. Accountability plays a significant role in the success of a safe floor program. Keep things running smoothly by assigning a key person to oversee the program during each shift. Typically, this person should be a manager or someone who demonstrates leadership capabilities and can comfortably communicate the program to all staff members. 4. Dedicate a porter to clean immediate spills. During high traffic periods, assign someone to the task of spill cleanup. In addition to cleaning up the spill, this person should also be responsible for placing caution signs around the area to warn patrons of the hazard. Since this will require additional time and focus, offset some of their other responsibilities with additional staff support. 5. Clear exterior walkways. When forecasts call for inclement weather, it’s just as important to know what’s happening outside the restaurant as it is inside. As soon as snow or sleet begins to fall, keep sidewalks leading into the restaurant clear. This will help prevent slips and falls outside of the restaurant while also limiting the amount of debris patrons track inside on their boots and shoes. 6. Consider microfiber. To quickly and effectively remove water and dirt, considering using microfiber mops when cleaning floors. Microfiber can absorb up to three times its weight in water and up to 99 percent of dirt and bacteria from the floor surface. 7. Protect high traffic and transitional areas. Matting helps attract soil and prevent it from moving throughout the restaurant, which can contribute to a slip and fall. Place matting in areas between the kitchen and dining room areas, in hallways leading to restrooms and in productivity zones where people frequently stand. 8. Focus on puddle zones. When there is precipitation outdoors, puddle zones will likely form wherever people stand or sit. This includes waiting areas, check-out counters and beneath booths or tables. Have porters pay close attention to these areas as they can likely be a source for slips and falls. 9. Increase mat rotation frequencies. When a floor mat or mop reaches its maximum absorbency, it will no longer be effective. Whenever there’s an increase in traffic, mats should be changed out more often to remain effective at all times.. Whether you rent or purchase floor mats or mops, work with the supplier to determine how often to rotate them based on weather and traffic considerations. 10. Educate staff. Whether staff members are seasonal or full-time, educate them on the significance of the safe floor program and the special role they play in protecting guests and each other. Cross train workers so they can fill in for one another if someone is busy. For example, if dishwashers do not have the time to auto-scrub high-traffic zones in the back of the house, train hostesses, cooks and other support staff on how to properly use the equipment. 11. Recognize star performers. When employees show a commitment to the floor safety program, recognize them for their efforts. This helps reinforce positive behavior and enhance the opportunity for their participation. 12. Deep clean. Many hard surface floors have a natural abrasiveness that can help improve slip resistance and reduce the opportunity for slips and falls. The problem is that as soil builds up and a floor becomes dirtier, less traction is available. To help keep floors in top condition, regularly deep clean them to remove buildup and improve the coefficient of friction to make the floors less slippery. To register for the upcoming webinar, please visit http://www.cintas.com/safefloorwebinar/. For more information on how restaurants can reduce slips and falls with a safe floor program, please visit http://www.cintas.com/industries/foodservice/Kitchen-Floor-Mats/. About Cintas Corporation: Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 900,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.