The Villages at Germantown

It is a common misconception that implementing workplace safety means sacrificing convenience or having to make a significant investment in a piece of equipment. But in many cases, a safety recommendation makes a work process more convenient—at a relatively low cost. 

For new LUBA policyholder The Village at Germantown, a premier Continuing Care Retirement Community near Memphis, Tennessee, LUBA Loss Control spotted an easy and effective fix that would immediately protect employees in the kitchen.

“LUBA was easy to work with,” said The Village at Germantown Human Resources Manager Jeremie Skinner. “We had a 30-minute sit-down session before walking through the facility, and we were given some great pointers and perspective based on their experience with similar operations. We like to think that we provide a very safe work environment, so any time that someone can come in and point out things we can do better, we take the opportunity to embrace that.” 

In the retirement center’s large commercial kitchen, employees were disposing of spent grease from the deep-fat fryer with a labor-intensive, time-consuming process. First, they had to turn off the machines and let the hot oil cool for at least 24 hours. Then, they manually drained the grease into five-gallon buckets, lifted the buckets onto a cart and rolled the buckets outside to a grease container tank. Employees would then lift the heavy buckets individually and dump them into the tank. 

With deep-fat fryers, kitchen workers can be burned by handling hot cookware or liquids during the cooking or cleanup process. Additionally, picking up heavy, ungainly containers of grease for disposal—which can weigh 35lbs each—can lead to back injuries, and any spilled grease on the floor can create an instant slip hazard. 

LUBA recommended that The Village at Germantown purchase a piece of equipment called a “grease cart” to improve the way kitchen employees handle spent oil. A grease cart is a rectangular steel container on wheels that lays flat underneath the fryer. The fryer can then be drained directly into the cart. Once the grease is emptied completely into the cart, employees can replace the cart’s receptacle cap and roll the cart back out from underneath the fryer and outside to the grease container tank. This provides a convenient, relatively low-cost, low-maintenance and durable item that is easy for policyholders to start using immediately.

Skinner said that they already had many safety precautions in place for their kitchen employees, but that the facility’s kitchen managers appreciate the grease cart because it makes handling grease more convenient. “In addition to making things safer, they don’t have to wait hours for the grease to cool anymore. They can go ahead and drain it and move it out of the way, which speeds up the process,” said Skinner. “This was a relatively low-cost safety upgrade that makes the employee’s job easier, and we are saving money by significantly reducing the safety risks we had with our old way of handling grease. We feel confident that we are saving a lot in the long run.”

LUBA’s loss control team is a particularly strong resource for businesses like The Village at Germantown, whose commercial kitchens are secondary to the primary services they provide their clients. LUBA insures many commercial kitchens—including many restaurant chains—and the loss control team has a deep knowledge of food service safety best practices. 

For more information on how the LUBA Loss Control Department can help your business, or to schedule a FREE loss control visit, contact us at or (888) 884-5822.