A hot beverage spill can cause significant injury. Prevention is the most important thing but some accidents will still happen. Will you and your team be prepared? When a hot coffee or other hot beverage spills, after providing first aid, it’s not enough to offer another coffee or free product. Your team needs to take concrete steps to prevent further injury and protect your business from a possible lawsuit.


Here are five critical actions to take if there is an accidental hot beverage spill and a customer is burned.


1. Always ask first

Before you take any of these steps outlined here, make sure you first obtain consent from the customer. This means a customer must verbally consent to receiving your help before you touch the customer or take any action to help the customer.


2. Alert a manager as soon as possible

Call for a manager or have another employee alert the manager while you attend to the customer. It’s important to have a manager present in the aftermath of a hot beverage spill so they can guide the team to give proper care and serve as a witness. 


3. Help them stop the burn

Tell the customer that they need to remove any clothing that is keeping hot liquid in contact with their skin as soon as possible because prolonged contact will increase the severity of the burn. Offer to help the customer get to a discreet place in your store where they can remove the affected clothing. Ask if you can assist them in finding something they can cover themselves with, then tell them they need to to place the burn under cool water for at least 15 minutes. If no appropriate location to change clothing exists, ask if you can place a cool towel over the burn. Stopping the burn will reduce the severity of the aftermath.


4. Call for medical help

Ask the injured person if they would like you to call medical personnel and if they say yes, call 911 immediately. Paramedics will have all the supplies and expertise to properly treat a hot beverage spill burn and determine if the customer should go to the hospital. 


5. Record key details of the spill

Once the customer has been fully assisted and the emergency is over, fill out an accident or injury report to document the spill and the store’s response. Our hot beverage spill poster outlines all of the critical information staff members should record.


Because hot beverage spill burns are a real danger, savvy cafe and restaurant owners provide regular training on hot beverage safety to new employees and refresher courses to all staff. While the goal is to prevent burns, training also builds confidence that your entire team is prepared to take appropriate action should a hot beverage spill or burn happen. 

Visit The Safety Store to purchase hot beverage safety posters for your operation. A must have for anyone selling hot beverages, and designed to be hung wherever your staff will have immediate access to these steps and more in an easy-to-follow format. Together, we can reduce the number of accidental spills and reduce the severity of any burns that occur.