Working in restaurants can be risky. Whether it is the front or back of the house, there are risk factors that increase the chances of sustaining an injury.
According to FSR Magazine, workers’ compensation claims cost restaurants an average of $45,000 a year. Many workplace accidents are preventable, and both management and staff can take steps to decrease risk.
Common accidents and injuries
Almost one-quarter of the accidents and injuries that occur in the kitchen involve cuts, punctures and lacerations from knives, blenders, grinders, mixers and broken glass. Slips and falls are also common in restaurants, resulting in bruises, sprains and fractures.
Lifting heavy boxes and carrying heavy items result in strains and sprains. Standing in one place for long periods of time and doing the same task over and over can result in overuse injuries. Burns are also common for those working in the kitchen.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, certain hazards will always remain in restaurants, but many accidents are preventable. Businesses are responsible for providing workers with a safe workplace, and there are things they can do to reduce injuries.
To prevent cuts and lacerations, prevention strategies may include keeping knives sharp, ensuring the knife is the right type and size, providing box cutters to open boxes, providing proper storage for knives and wearing cut-resistant gloves. Some strategies to prevent burns include:
- Using protective equipment and clothing
- Providing built-in guide bars
- Using splash guards on fryers
- Adjusting burner flames
- Straining only cooled oil
Teaching staff good ergonomics helps to prevent strains, sprains and overuse injuries. Examples include bending at the knees to carry something heavy, holding heavy items close to the body, providing lifting devices, providing stepstools, rotating tasks and installing supportive floor mats.
To prevent slips and falls, management should train staff to clean up any spills right away and to wear non-slip footwear.