For Restaurant and Food Service
Risk Management in a Box

Introducing a New Risk Management tool designed to prevent losses and help with your legal defense from:

The Core program includes:

The Monthly “Safety Matters” includes:


Restaurants with multiple locations should call for discount pricing
On-site consultation, training and administrative assistance is available as well

Core Safety Program
"Safety Matters"
Monthly Service
$39.95 plus $25.00/month
Add To Cart

"Safety Matters"
Monthly Service

Add To Cart

Some frequently asked questions are:

Am I required by law to have a safety program?

Yes. Restaurants fall into the “high-hazard” category of employers, per Cal-OSHA, and therefore require a comprehensive program to protect employees. This includes

  1. A written program
  2. An effectively managed program
    • Employee Training (Initial for new hires plus ongoing)
    • Inspection process (to correct hazards and behaviors)
    • Accident Investigation process (to prevent similar mishaps)
  3. Documentation

Also, the Health Department requires that

  • Food be unadulterated
  • Management and employees be trained in food safety
    (PIC and Server Card for California)
  • New food safety legislation under debate may impact restaurants

The key to success is to actively manage your program.

To Quote Cal-OSHA: “Remember that an effective IIPP is not just a paper program. For your IIPP to be effective you must fully put it into practice in your workplace.
Since you must have an IIPP, why not fold in other key items that will protect your financial interests? You will find it here: Food Illness and 3rd party liability issues are managed in one place, monthly.

What are the real costs of non-compliance?

The costs of non-compliance with local, state and Federal regulations can be enormous.
There are hard costs, such as premium increases and fines, and soft costs, such as loss of reputation, loss of productivity, and hassle time involved with responding to insurance claims and lawsuits and inspectors.
Keep reading to understand the highest risks for restaurants, the Hard Costs, and the Soft Costs

  • 1. High Risks
  • 2. Hard Costs
  • 3. Soft Costs

High Risk exposures for restaurants:

To understand how claims impact premiums, let’s start with a sense of the costs of 4 main claims

  • Food Illness:
    • This is an issue for customers rather than employees, typically. $76,000 average cost of claim.
    • As this number includes all the national supplier issues (sprouts, spinach, meat suppliers, etc) we guess that for restaurants, it is between $5,000 and $8,000—hard data is not available.
  • Strains:
    • Sprains, strains and tears are the predominant cause of serious injuries.
    • Average cost (2005): $15,757 reflecting medical and indemnity.
  • Slip-Falls:
    • Worker’s Comp: The average slip fall incident about $4000- $10,000; Assume the numbers are higher in California
    • Many resulted in fractures, back injuries, head traumas, and other injuries.
    • Liability (Customer): Some studies show the average customer fall claim is $25,000. It is not unusual to hear of customers filing lawsuits, and legal costs mount quickly.
  • Cuts:
    • Cuts occur with high frequency, and range in severity greatly. The minor cut presents a possible exposure to customers and employees. Slicers, grinders can cause permanent damage. Range from $500.00 to $50,000

Hard Costs to you: Premium increases

While you carry insurance to cover these costs, each event will impact your future premiums.

In fact, the law in every state is crafted to encourage your diligence, and therefore mandates an increase in worker’s comp premium following a claim.

See "A Tale of Two Restaurants". Better yet, ask your insurance agent how much a given Workers Comp claim will increase your premium over 3 years. Most likely, your premium will increase by the exact amount of the claim.

Liability claims are not subject to such a strict formula for increase, but insurers will consider them in your annual quote.

Strains and Fall- related injuries are the two most frequent injuries to restaurant and food service employees. Besides the premium increase, they also disrupt your schedule:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, injuries resulting from floors, walkways and ground surfaces were responsible for 18% of all days away from work.
  • Time to transport an employee for medical care, time to comfort a customer, plus all the paperwork takes time and disrupts the rhythm of the day.

Food Illness claims
First, they can severely damage your reputation. With Yelp, that will be part of your permanent record. Secondly, they can create a mountain of paperwork and legal time for management.

  • The sad fact is that in many areas, if someone gets any type of flu, they are quick to blame a restaurant; The sad fact is that if someone wants to file a lawsuit, there are numerous firms happy to accept them, on a contingency basis.
  • Sadly, is that it is very difficult to prove a food illness claim, especially if it involves only one or two people. So this cadre of attorneys can order medical testing, review of your operational standards, interviews with employees, analysis of your documentation, etc. And your insurers will have to match that. Therefore, it is in the financial interest of your insurer to settle the claim. Smart attorneys know the price point.
  • So in this twisted way, your probable innocence creates an opportunity for lawyers. They would be thrilled at a $10,000 insurance settlement, where they take $5,000 home for themselves. Try Googling “Food Illness Lawyer” and you will find many solicitations for a free review of a claim.
  • In the process, your day-to-day operation is turned upside-down.
How will this program assist me in controlling premiums and preserving my reputation?

To Quote Cal-OSHA: “Remember that an effective IIPP is not just a paper program. For your IIPP to be effective you must fully put it into practice in your workplace.

The Sonoma Safety Program has two parts: the monthly service, “Safety Matters” that drives effectiveness, and the “Core Program” that sets the standards.

The engine behind the Sonoma Safety program is the monthly service, “Safety Matters”. Every month you will be sent, by email, this document which has 3 key components: inspection, training, and a documentation process.

  • Inspection: The contents include a high-level inspection and sign-off to prompt managers to verify that key safety items are in place. This is important because it is the systematic inspection and observation from a safety perspective on the part of managers that drives the values and priorities of the staff.
    • This is “high level”, allowing for reporting by exception and demanding little time.
    • A detailed inspection form is provided as a basis to check-off conclusions.
  • Training: Each month you will receive two short training topics.
    • One addresses Food Illness Prevention, and the second focuses on Employee Safety.
    • They are presented in Spanish and English.
    • A sign-off sheet is on the reverse side. Many studies conclude that on-going reminders on accident prevention are effective.
    • If supervisors/team leaders can present the topic, it will take less than 5 minutes. But beyond the topics (washing hands, safe lifting), the requirement that everyone read and sign-off shows that the management team is serious about it. Safety becomes a staff priority.
  • Documentation: “without paper, it’s vapor”. “In the legal game of Rochambeau, paper always wins”. These are just a few of the catchy phrases coined to convince restaurateurs that documentation is crucial.
    • When the Health Department arrives, share this with them to show your good efforts. Perhaps the inspector found a specific issue, but you can demonstrate that you have a system in place to control it. They will have more trust.
    • In the event of a customer claim regarding food illness, fall, or other issue, this type of documentation is crucial. As mentioned above, certain attorneys are swarming to file action against business owners. If your insurance adjuster can say, “we have proof that a system is in place that promotes safety”, then many of those attorneys will simply swim off in search of easier prey.
    • In the event of an employee injury, a worker’s comp claim must be filed. If you can send off documentation that the employee was trained to identify and prevent the accident, your claims adjuster will have a strong basis for your defense if it escalates.

To Quote Cal-OSHA: “Remember that an effective IIPP is not just a paper program. For your IIPP to be effective you must fully put it into practice in your workplace.

The monthly “Safety Matters” is the engine behind your program-- intended to help you are actively managing safety.

The Core Program sets the standards

The Core Program includes:

  • The mandated injury and illness prevention program (IIPP) tailored for restaurants. Plus a signoff sheet to document that each employee has read and understood it. Spanish and English.
  • Safety Rules, tailored for restaurants, English and Spanish. With a sign-off sheet
  • Forms: Safety Inspection (detailed), Accident Investigation, Statement of Management Support for safety (to be signed and posted), Suggestions, Safety Committee should you use them, Group training forms, etc.
  • A “Welcome and Getting Started Guide” to walk you through the steps.
  • A new hire orientation in powerpoint, with skill check and final test. Covers employee safety concerns and food safety. Not a substitute for the food handler’s card in California, but more effective than having employees read and sign-off on a set of rules.
  • A self-assessment on other risks not covered—to help you identify the need for emergency plans, workplace security plans, ergonomic programs, etc.
  • “Tips and Tools” for managers—a set of white papers that inform you on the wide variety of issues you might face. These include how to “Do’s and Don’ts in response to customer accidents, model workplace security issues – e.g. if an employee is being stalked by an ex, age restrictions on youth using certain equipment, what you must post by law, etc etc.
  • MOST notably, a one-hour tele-consult to help you set this up correctly.
What is included in this electronic program?

Our goal is to simplify the process of conforming to OSHA, liability laws, and Health Dept Regulations in one simple unit, and to protect your profits through education, motivation, and documentation, requiring the least amount of cost and time.
Here’s how:

Safety Matters (Spanish)


· Sent Monthly
· 4 pages
· High Level Inspection
· Employee safety topic (Eng and Spanish)
· Food Safety topic (Eng and Spanish)
· Sign-Off Sheet
· Legal Updates
· Timely Topics on Restaurant Risk Management

Safety Matters

Code of Safe Practices


· 18 pages
· California Compliant
· English and Spanish
· Safety Rules for Employees-(Eng and Spanish)
· Responsibilities
· Training
· Documentation

Safety Program

Reporting Recording


· Restaurant Safety “White Papers” · Policy Guidance · Risk Management topics, including

  • HR Issues, Legal Items
  • Claims Management
  • And more

Customer Incident

Incident Form


· 6 forms
· Inspection Detail 6 pp
· Accident Investigation inc Witnesses
· Suggestions
· Management Support
· Group Training

Safety Inspection Form

Hazard Assessment


· 12 pages
· The Logic of Cal-OSHA
· Quick-Start Checklist
· Detailed explanation of forms
· Hazard Assessment— to determine if you need additional program elements.

Getting Started

Implementation of this program does not supplant the need for PIC or California Food Safety Cards. This s not a HACCP program.
We have folded in basic training and inspection issues related to Health Dept concerns to provide you with guidance and documentation regarding daily operations.
Your County and State do have their specific requirements for you to maintain. It is recommended that you determine exactly what is required locally and amend the Inspections and Safety Matters document to conform to those requirements, and conform to any other requirements that may not be covered.
We developed every piece of this safety program with the help of past Health Inspectors, but you need to verify that this program covers your exposures.

What are the advantages of the Sonoma Safety Program?

This much is true: you can obtain a safety program from your insurance agent or the web. You may get some visits by insurance safety people. Fair question: Why invest in this Sonoma Safety Services program?

  1. This program is tailored to focus on high cost, realistic risks to restaurants. If your investment in this program prevents just one “slip-fall” or one strain or one food illness event, you will have paid for it at least 10x over, perhaps 100x over;
  2. We help keep you up to date on legal issues;
  3. Satisfaction guaranteed. This program meets OSHA expectations for both standards and documentation of effectiveness. Should you be cited by OSHA for the program, we will work with you at no charge to promptly respond to their complaints and make any requested changes. Developers include OSHA authorized trainers so we doubt that will happen;
  4. The Sonoma Safety Program is the only program that includes a monthly documentation of your work, including training topics. This is crucial to your defense in the event of a claim or lawsuit;
  5. The program incorporates food illness and 3rd party liability;
  6. Simple. We recognize the time constraints of the restaurant setting; the entire program is developed to simplify your work;
  7. Cost-Effective: Competitive with other OSHA programs, but includes 3rd party protection, including food illness issues, and focuses on restaurants. One claim avoided will pay for this program;
  8. Spanish Language: The core program and safety rules, and monthly training topics are also provided in Spanish. No need to purchase a second product for your Spanish speaking employees;
  9. Modifiable: Add/subtract to safety rules, training and inspection forms to meet your needs.

What is not included:

This program is not a HAACP program, nor intended to protect every restaurant from Health Dept regulatory requirements. It does not replace the need for PIC training or employee Food Safety Card training materials.

Your County and State do have their separate requirements for you to maintain. It is recommended that you determine exactly what is required locally and amend the Safety Matters and Inspection document to conform to those requirements, and conform to any other requirements

This program is designed, with input from former Health Inspectors, to support (through monthly training topics) and help document the work you do to maintain Food Integrity.

How much does it cost?


"Safety Matters"
Monthly Service
Core Safety Program plus
$39.95 plus $25.00/month
Add To Cart

When should I use Consultation Services?

Some restaurants are struggling with WC issues, fraud, or may be involved in activities not anticipated in the standard program: catering, large events, breweries, etc.
We are pleased to offer on-site consulting to help you assess strengths and opportunities. We begin with a one-hour consultation with you at no cost.

This assessment will include:

  • Your priorities of concern: we listen first
  • Your insurance costs and claims history
  • Your history of inspections, fines, issues with regulators
  • Your existing written safety programs
  • Your effectiveness in executing those programs

Based on the initial assessment we will submit a proposal that may include any of the following:

  • Modify your written program to match current conditions
  • Assist in improved execution:
    • Providing resources (inspections, training, incident reporting, and more)
    • Providing training for managers/supervisory staff
    • Providing training for employees
    • Assisting with documentation
    • Providing handshakes to your key partners in reducing claim costs: medical providers, claims adjusters, etc.


"Safety Matters"
Monthly Service
Core Safety Program plus
$39.95 plus $25.00/month

Add To Cart

Act now to receive a program that is

And a process that promotes