Following incidents, CAS defends workplace conditions

Recent on-the-job injuries and frequent triggering of smoke alarms in kitchens maintained by Campus Auxiliary Services have brought about questions regarding their safety. A Red Jacket Dining Hall employee was burned by a deep fryer while on the job. According to CAS Executive Chef Jonna Anne, the occurrence of this was purely an accident.

“Things happen, but [due to] the quick work of our staff and the ambulance, they’re doing okay,” Anne said.

As for the smoke alarms in Fusion Market that lead to relatively frequent fire evacuations from the College Union, placing the blame on kitchen fires is a misconception, according to Anne.

“There are no fires in Fusion,” Anne added. “The fire alarm has gone off, but it’s just due to the air flow at Fusion.”

CAS takes several measures and sets regulations to ensure that the safety of employees is maintained. With frequent safety inspections and constant training, Anne said the likelihood of employees being injured is very low.

CAS has a safety committee that is comprised of its facilities director, the HR department, managers, employees and a “student super committee” which notifies CAS of the happenings outside of the kitchen.

On top of a safety committee, CAS also performs constant training throughout the year, and a large training session every August. Anne also said that CAS will incorporate a new online training module.

“We have this wonderful training module that allows them to [be trained in safety] before they even step foot in the kitchen,” she said.

CAS works with the Geneseo Fire Department in order to train employees in fire safety. “[We have] fire extinguisher training so that [employees] are comfortable,” Anne added. “They’ve been able to set them off and test them,” Anne said.

In addition to this, the campus performs regular fire drills, which also contribute to fire safety training.

A very important initiative that CAS takes is recording “near misses,” as Anne calls it. These are not necessarily incidents, but rather situations where an incident could have possibly occurred. For example, if an employee sees a box in a hallway that could potentially be tripped over, it would be recorded as a “near miss” in order to ensure that hallways stay clear of potential future hazards.

“That’s just one more step to allow us to say, ‘That was a near miss, someone could have gotten hurt, but let’s make sure we fix it before someone does get hurt,’” Anne said.

CAS is also involved in an initiative called Safe-Serve, which is a federal program that teaches safe food handling processes. Anne explained that she is a certified instructor of this program, as are all of CAS’s managers and several employees.

Though there are instances of employees getting injured due to a lack of adherence to safety regulations, Anne said that the CAS kitchens are very safe.

“We hit from many angles because safety––when talking about a restaurant––pretty much encompasses everything besides actually putting food on a plate,” she said.