The owner or manager of the dining establishment where you work has a responsibility to provide you with a safe working environment. However, potential hazards will always exist. Did you know that the average eatery has four workers’ compensation claims per year?
Some work-related injuries affect restaurant employees more often than others. Becoming aware of the hazards that exist back-of-house, i.e., primarily in the kitchen, may help you avoid work-related accidents.
1. Burns and scalds
Burns account for about 13% of restaurant kitchen injuries. Scalds can occur when you get splashed with hot beverages or cooking oils. You can help prevent such injuries by positioning pots and pans away from the body. When not in use, turn off stoves and ovens.
2. Slips and falls
Since 1980, slip-and-fall accidents in restaurants have increased by 300%. About one in five restaurant injuries involve a slip, trip or fall. These accidents often occur due to spilled food, grease, oil or liquids. You can help prevent slip-and-fall accidents by cleaning up spills as soon as possible. Wearing non-slip shoes is also very helpful.
3. Cuts and lacerations
Your daily restaurant procedure may involve dicing, mincing and peeling. You may use common equipment such as blenders, grinders and slicers. Alternatively, you may require only a knife. Cuts and lacerations account for 22% of all work-related restaurant injuries, making them the most common.
You can protect yourself by following any safety instructions for operating mechanical cutting devices. Cut away from your body when you use a knife, and wear blade-resistant gloves to protect your hands whenever possible.
4. Strains and sprains
These injuries affect the muscles and other soft tissues of your body. Common causes include bending and lifting heavy objects. You may be able to avoid these injuries by learning and using proper lifting techniques and paying attention to how you perform your work duties.
A restaurant is a high-pressure work environment. Paying attention to safety measures should always be a priority even when you are in a hurry.