By D. B. “Libby” Libhart
ur mission at McDonald’s is to deliver your food with increases. Worker’s compensation claims along with reported
fast, accurate, and friendly service. Serving our customers customer accidents tend to increase in our industry with the
with the expected speed requires the highly coordinated peak times of business. There are more employees and more
actions of our management team and crew. Satisfying surges of customers in the building or on the premises during those times.
customers during peak times is repeated several times each and In addition to keeping our employees safe and secure from
every day. accidents, the reductions of accidents and their associated cost
Orders are taken from several points at the front counter also affects the profitability of the restaurant, including insurance
and the drive-thru. The kitchen crew is busy making the food premiums.
as others are filling the orders and still others are cleaning, So, what do we do about it?
mopping, wiping tables, collecting trash, and performing a
multitude of tasks. Timely Reporting
All the activity is carefully coordinated, but in our industry, The comprehensive safety and loss prevention program at
when the pace of work increases, the opportunity for accidents McDonald’s begins with the accurate and timely reporting of
July – August 2006 LPportal.com
in the Quick-Service
accident claims. Timely reporting of the incident allows quick to get the claim into the hands of the professional adjuster as
response by our third-party administrator. quickly as possible, the restaurant management team calls in the
The health and safety of our employees and customers is claim within 24 hours of occurrence.
paramount. The third-party administrator’s involvement ensures
the quick and proper treatment of any injury that may occur. An Trend Analysis
adjustor is assigned to handle all aspects of the claim and has Understanding the claims information collected by the
responsibility for working with the employee and the preferred third-party administrator is important in identifying trends
medical provider as well as the customer and their needs. and determining action steps. The data can indicate patterns
McDonald’s has agreements in place with preferred medical of particular causes and types of accidents. It can also indicate
providers to provide the best care at a reasonable cost. The patterns regarding the frequency or severity of claims as well
agreements with these preferred medical providers help reduce as time of day, day of the week, or specific location within the
unnecessary trips to the emergency room, so that emergency restaurant or on the premises. The data is shared with operations
rooms at hospitals are reserved for emergencies only. In order personnel along with action-oriented solutions. Resources can
LossPrevention July – August 2006
then prepared to address the issues and provide solutions and
resources. It is important to train the management team and crew.
Outsourced inspections also include the review of play areas
for children, food safety, and policy and procedures for the
handling of chemicals in the restaurants.
Some of the proactive measures taken to address root causes
include the following:
Slip-Resistant Shoes—All corporately owned McDonald’s now
require the management and crew to wear slip-resistant shoes.
The shoes are ordered for the employee and are considered
part of their uniform. Slip-resistant shoes have been a proven
proactive measure for the reduction of employee slip-and-fall
accidents in the restaurant.
Floor Mats—Slip-resistant floor mats may be used near the
dish sink in the kitchen, in front of kitchen ice machines, and
in walk-in coolers and freezers. Mats have also been effective in
slip-and-fall prevention in the dining room when placed inside
entrance doors and in front of self-service beverage areas and ice
Properly Cleaned Floors—Employees are trained to quickly
clean up any spills that occur. They are also trained to place “Wet
Floor” signs by the mopped areas in the dining room of the
restaurant to advise our customers of the freshly mopped floors.
The crew is also trained to use separate buckets and mops
when cleaning the kitchen and dining room so that dirt and
grease mopped up in the kitchen are not transferred from
Our mission is to give our customers a the kitchen to the dining room. The proper concentration of
pleasant experience every time and be approved cleaner is used with hot water. Training also includes
frequent changing of the water and cleaning solution in the mop
their favorite place to eat. They want buckets.
their order to be accurate and they want Proper Use of Safety Tools—As mentioned above, wet-floor signs
may be placed about the spilled area or freshly mopped floor.
it fast. The key to a sound safety and The hot grills require scraping and cleaning. A specially
designed tool is utilized to keep hands and fingers away from the
loss prevention program is to have well- hot grill surface.
trained employees working safely in a Hot oil must also be filtered, drained, and replaced regularly.
Hot shortening accidents while filtering can cause severe burns.
safe environment, no matter the speed. The proper safety tools when draining the hot oil include face
shields, special gloves, and aprons.
Proactive Messages—Each corporate-owned restaurant
then be applied to correct any issues or conditions responsible receives a monthly poster with proactive safety messages and
for the accident trends. instructions and talking points for training. They include training
materials and discussion points for the restaurant.
Restaurant Reviews, Audits, and Inspections Restaurant Safety Committees—Restaurant safety
Safety reviews are conducted in multiple ways—by a representatives establish a restaurant safety committee with
restaurant safety representative, the management team, active participation and representation of various positions,
outsourced to professional safety inspectors, risk management authority levels, and responsibilities. It is important to have
representatives, and/or security managers. It is imperative to restaurant maintenance represented on the committee. The
identify the root cause of the accidents that occur and inspect safety committee may design a lesson plan for a particular month,
the premises for unsafe conditions, practices, and compliance of and discuss action items for the restaurant. The committees are
safety policy and procedure. encouraged to review their particular accident claims, identify the
The restaurant safety reviews and inspections are designed to root causes, and discuss the training and communications with the
identify these causes and conditions. If needed, an action plan is rest of the restaurant management and crew.
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Return to Work and Modified Duty—The contributions of
our employees are greatly valued. We want injured employees
to continue to be productive members of the restaurant team,
despite work restrictions. Getting injured employees back to
work must be a component in a comprehensive safety program.
Coordinating with doctors, health clinics, and managed-care
facilities to get our employees back to work is a priority.
To return employees back to work quickly, jobs are modified
to accommodate many physical restrictions. If restrictions
involve not standing for prolonged hours, the employee may
be supplied a stool. If a restriction involves a lifting-weight
restriction, a job or task may be found to accommodate it.
Managers are trained to understand the ramifications of
injured employees not getting back to work as quickly as
possible. While the injury of any employee is taken seriously and
every effort is made to provide them with the best possible care,
continued on page 70
Training is interactive with the employee
and ensures that the employee has
received the proper foundation in safety
and security. It’s a new and exciting
way to deliver consistent, up-to-date
information in restaurant operations.
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LossPrevention July – August 2006
The most progressive, proactive, and contemporary training
program at the restaurant level has been the recent development
of e-learning training modules. Any restaurant employee can
access any training portion of restaurant operations on a
specially designed computer in the restaurant. The program
is presented in a choice of English or Spanish. The modules
are interactive and test the learning of the employee as they
progress through the training material.
The training material presents an orientation to the company
and foundation areas of restaurant operations, including security
and safety, hospitality, cleanliness and sanitation, maintenance,
and information pertinent to the service and food production
The safety portion of the training material provides
instruction on accident prevention. The key message repeated
throughout the training module is “…no work is so important
that it needs to be done in an unsafe manner.”
The security training is interactive with the employee and
ensures that the employee has received the proper foundation
in safety and security. It’s a new and exciting way to deliver
consistent, up-to-date information in restaurant operations.
Measurement and Accountability
After inspections are completed, recommendations are made
for improvement and the safety committees become active. The
questions then becomes—who do we hold accountable and how
do we measure our success?
Accountability. Because responsibility for safety is the
responsibility of multiple individuals in various management
capacities, accountability is shared.
Divisional Risk Managers—In corporate-owned McDonald’s
The most progressive, proactive, and restaurants, divisional risk managers are held accountable for
contemporary training program at the the reduction of accident claims frequency and severity for their
assigned division of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 restaurants.
restaurant level has been the recent They work very closely with the third-party administrator
development of e-learning training modules. and preferred medical providers along with various levels of
restaurant operations, human resources, and the security and
The program is presented in a choice safety department.
Risk managers are also instrumental in providing the training
of English or Spanish. The modules are and education materials presented at the operations supervision
interactive and test the learning of the and restaurant levels in all corporate-owned restaurants.
Security Managers—As the security and risk management
employee as they progress through the departments become more closely aligned in loss prevention
training material. activities, it has synergized many of the same goals and
objectives in reducing losses and making a positive contribution
to the safety of our employees and customers. Security
RISK MANAGEMENT managers are now an integral part of the safety initiatives in the
continued from page 69
restaurants. They conduct reviews and develop action plans for
we want them to continue to be a productive member of the improvement. Security managers are also held accountable for
restaurant team, even with their restrictions. the reduction of frequency and severity of accident claims as well
The return-to-work and modified-duty programs also benefit as the overall safety performance in their assigned regions.
the company by decreasing lost time due to injury, improving Restaurant Operations—Restaurant operations is held
staffing issues, increasing morale, reducing medical costs, and accountable for the improvement of accident claims frequency
limiting litigation. continued on page 72
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McDonald’s protocols, and provide us with comprehensive
information that allows us to understand how accidents occur.
This gives us the data necessary to develop protocols to help
Fraud—Quick-service restaurants are susceptible to
possible fraudulent accident claims. Every claim is reported
to the third-party administrator and the claim is investigated
according to established protocols. Any suspicious or major
claim may be reviewed by a team consisting of the claims
adjustor, restaurant supervision, security, and the divisional
Most corporate-owned restaurants are equipped with the
latest technology in digital cameras and recorders. Protocols
have been established for covert surveillance for suspicious
workers’ compensation claims. If a claim is proven to be
fraudulent, the investigation moves to the next step, potentially
resulting in the loss of applicable medical benefits, termination
of employment, and possible prosecution.
Restaurant operations is held accountable Fraudulent claims by the public are turned over to counsel
for the improvement of accident and possibly to local law enforcement.
claims frequency and severity, Rewards and Recognition
from the restaurant management Rewards and recognition have been used very effectively
at McDonald’s to improve and/or maintain high levels of
staff ascending through every level of performance. Public recognition of crew, restaurant managers,
and supervisors at meetings and conventions add emphasis
restaurant supervision. to the safety program and reward the behavior that prevents
accidents and saves insurance premium dollars.
RISK MANAGEMENT Restaurant crew, managers, and supervisors are rewarded in
continued from page 70 a variety of ways for excellent performance in safety. This serves
and severity, from the restaurant management staff ascending to reinforce the safety initiatives continually to train, educate,
through every level of restaurant supervision. and communicate safe working habits to our restaurant crew and
The restaurant teams are responsible for the restaurant crew management teams and create a safe, pleasant environment for
safety and security training utilizing periodic training materials, our customers as well.
e-learning modules, and teaching safe operations of restaurant Working safely in a quick-service restaurant during the height
equipment. of the lunch rush is challenging. Our mission is to give our
They are also responsible for reporting accident claims customers a pleasant experience every time and be their favorite
within 24 hours, and the follow-up and correction of any place to eat. They want their order to be accurate and they want
deficiencies found in outside inspections or audits. it fast.
Measurement. It is vitally important to measure results. We The key to a sound safety and loss prevention program is to
do this in a variety of ways. have well-trained employees working safely in a safe
Claims Review—One of the most important aspects in the environment, no matter the speed. All of the key components
success of the safety and loss prevention program at McDonald’s described above have to be coordinated and embedded into the
is the relationship with our third-party administrator. They established culture, because at McDonald’s—Safety is No
handle every aspect of claims management, following Accident.
D. B. “LIBBY” LIBHART is the director of security for U.S. reporting into him and oversees implementation
McDonald’s USA. He has held this position for two years of the national security and safety plan in support of
and has been with the McDonald’s system for nearly eight McDonald’s U.S. business strategy. Previously Libhart
years. In his current role, he is responsible for security, worked in loss prevention with Taco Bell/Tricon, now
safety, and loss prevention in McDonald’s more than YUM! Corporation. He can be reached at 630-623-7099 or
2,100 company-owned restaurants. He has thirteen email@example.com.
McDonald’s regional security managers throughout the
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