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How can dining establishments protect their patrons from harm?

California is a popular tourist destination home to many restaurants and dining establishments. When guests go out to eat and enjoy themselves, the last thing on their minds is getting hurt. Though many restaurant owners and staff work hard to protect their patrons, accidents and situations can happen that result in illness, injuries and death. 

Owners can be held liable for incidents that happen in their dining establishments and cause harm to patrons. Foodborne illnesses, slip and falls and burn spills injuries are very common. According to FindLaw, "48 million individuals develop food poisoning" each year from eating contaminated food. Not all accidents are avoidable, but many of them are preventable. Here are some actions owner can take to protect their guests from restaurant accidents. 

Take all customer complaints seriously 

Customer complaints can point out issues and hazards that restaurant owners and their staff might not realize are present. Not all customers are docile. Some restaurant guests are hard to please and might complain about things because they are having a bad day and unpleasant to deal with. No matter what type of complaint customers have, owners and their staff should take them seriously and take appropriate actions to resolve them. 

Train workers to observe and act 

Accidents often happen in restaurant-style environments where staff neglect their duties and do not pay attention. Owners should provide ongoing training to their workers, encourage them to be observant and to notify guests when there are issues that can affect their safety, i.e., letting them know when food and beverages are too hot, slippery and wet floors and documenting all incidents in a timely manner. 

Establish emergency procedures 

Not all accidents are avoidable. Restaurant owners and workers should have emergency measures in place to facilitate the timely treatment of all accident victims. Their emergency preparedness plans should include first aid and CPR guidelines, critical wound assessment and medical, fire and law enforcement contact protocol. 

Restaurant owners and their representatives are obligated to keep their customers safe from reasonable and foreseeable dangers. Guests should not rely on business owners to do their parts. They should remain observant, communicative and cordial to reduce the likelihood of them being harmed while they dine out.

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