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The five most common causes of employee injuries in restaurants

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Restaurant owners can be held responsible if one of their staff members becomes injured on the premises. This is why government guidelines demand employers grant their employees a place to work that is safe from industry-recognised hazards. If an employee does not follow these safety rules, and the employer can prove it, the responsibility falls on the employee.

Knife injuries

Improper placement of the hand and fingers, as well as the wrong kind of knife strokes, is quick to cause injury. This can be in the form of a minor cut or more serious harm such as lacerations or loss of fingers.

This is one of the main reasons knife gloves are required at many restaurant and food production institutions. An employee with a serious cut is supposed to file a report in writing as soon as possible after the accident.

Burn injuries

Burn injuries are common and all but expected in restaurant kitchens. It’s one thing to singe your finger on a grill or pan; it’s another to sustain second or third degree burns. Employees with these kinds of burns should seek medical attention immediately.

The high probability of a burn injury happening is why it’s so important for fresh running water to be readily available. First aid kits are required in workplaces which involve physical labour, and that includes restaurant kitchens.

Improper lifting injuries

Most restaurant workers will underestimate the level of damage that can be done to their backs by improperly lifting boxes. Restaurant job applicants are often asked if they can lift boxes that are 50 pounds or heavier before they are hired. Hiring managers can neglect to mention that these boxes should be lifted properly to avoid injury.

The improper lifting of objects is one of the most frequent causes of injury in workplaces around the country, and restaurants are no exception.

Slips and falls

Slips and falls happen frequently in food service institutions. These may happen because of a spill on the floor that wasn’t cleaned up properly or speedily. Most restaurants have a policy requiring their employees to wear slip-resistant shoes. This is a good idea because serious injuries like slipped disks and other back injuries might be a result of one. Employees with back pain after a fall should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Hazardous chemical exposure

Oven cleaners, floor cleaners, and other cleaning products can be absorbed by the skin or mistakenly ingested in a number of ways. Some of these can cause allergic reactions in some people, just by making skin contact, that might be very serious. Other cleaning products aren’t safe for use in a food environment where they might be ingested.

If you are injured, there are a few steps which need to be take immediately in order to qualify for worker’s compensation. The injured employee should immediately seek medical attention, make an official accident report (preferably in writing), and file a claim. It’s important for restaurant owners to make an official report of a serious injury as soon as possible. The legal ramifications of not doing so will often fall upon them instead of on the employee.

No matter what you do, it can be hard to avoid accidents, but being aware of your surroundings in the kitchen and knowing what to watch for can help you cut down on the number of incidents you have.

How have you dealt with employee injuries in restaurants? Let us know in the comments below.

Eileen O'ShanassyThe five most common causes of employee injuries in restaurants

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