Workplace safety should be a top priority in restaurants, and it’s crucial that both employers and employees take steps to minimize these risks. Employers should provide the necessary training, equipment and support to protect their workers, and employees should be encouraged to voice any safety concerns. In fact, the onus for safety in the workplace lies with the employer.
Understanding common hazards can help keep everyone safe throughout each shift.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Restaurants often have slippery floors due to spilled food and drinks or from cleaning. Workers can also trip over objects left in walkways or fall from ladders when reaching for items. Nonslip shoes can help to prevent slipping on a wet surface, and keeping the floors cleaned minimizes the risk of tripping.
Hot stoves, ovens, grills and boiling liquids can all cause serious burns. Hot oil, in particular, can splatter and burn skin. Using protective gear, including gloves and hot pads, can help to reduce the chance of burns occurring.
Handling knives and other sharp tools are a part of the daily routine in a restaurant kitchen. Learning how to operate slicers and mandolins properly, and using caution with knives, may stop these injuries.
Heavy lifting is often required in restaurants, whether it’s carrying boxes of supplies, moving equipment, or lifting large pots. This can lead to back, neck, and shoulder injuries. Using team lifting techniques and proper ergonomics are beneficial.
Unfortunately, some restaurant workers face the risk of violence or harassment, whether from customers, colleagues or supervisors. Any violent behavior should be addressed immediately before anyone suffers an injury. Some restaurants may need to have a security guard or team during the busy or more dangerous times, such as overnight shifts.
Restaurant workers who suffer from injuries should ensure they get immediate medical care. Workers’ compensation coverage should provide benefits that include payment for doctor visits. Other benefits might also be possible, depending on the circumstances. If you have recently sustained a work-related injury, seeking legal guidance may be beneficial so you can learn more about what you should receive and work toward getting what you’re due.