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5 common injuries in the food service industry

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Food service workers fulfill an essential need in California. Restaurants are filled with couples on first dates, business associates closing an important deal or families celebrating a special occasion.

But it doesn’t matter if it’s fast food or a five-star Michelin restaurant, some injuries are common among its workers.

Food service is inherently risky

Whether a worker is in the front of the house or the kitchen, there are plenty of dangers. Top dangers include:

  1. Cuts and lacerations: Knives and various sharp utensils are the tools of chefs, cooks and bartenders. Even with the best training, slice guards, mesh gloves and other protective equipment, cuts and lacerations remain among the most common injuries.
  2. Burns: Ovens, stoves and fryers operating at high temperatures, along with hot pans and plates, mean that burns are prevalent among kitchen and wait staff. Burns can vary in severity, from superficial to those needing professional treatment. 
  3. Slips, trips and falls: Spills are inevitable in a restaurant setting, making slips, trips and falls a significant concern. Wet floors, uneven surfaces or cluttered walkways contribute to these accidents, resulting in sprains, fractures, or even more severe injuries. 
  4. Musculoskeletal injuries: The repetitive nature of tasks in the restaurant industry, such as chopping, lifting heavy pots or carrying trays, can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. These types of injuries can range from tendonitis to herniated disks.
  5. Stress-related conditions: Restaurants are fast-paced and high-pressure environments, which can affect mental health. This can manifest in physical ways, such as headaches and hypertension.

Restaurant employers are responsible for creating a culture of safety in which every employer feels responsible for not only their own safety but also that of their colleagues. Key elements include regular safety training, a process for reporting hazards and a proactive approach to risks. It is crucial to invest in safety equipment and ensure that all staff is trained in its use. This includes items such as cut-resistant gloves and non-slip shoes.

Unfortunately, even with all the safety equipment and protocols in place, accidents will happen. When they do, employees must file a workers’ compensation claim. This will cover medical expenses and lost wages, so an injured employee can focus on their recovery.

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