Food service workers are in many workplaces from restaurants and hotels to schools and hospitals, and accidents happen in these environments every day. Workers in special food services, such as catering, experience even higher rates of injury, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The conditions in food service present many dangers and injuries vary from minor to severe.
Dangers in the food service industry
The most common injuries come from the tools that food service staff use regularly. Kitchen workers use knives and other sharp items, and bussers in restaurants handle broken plates and glasses that cause cuts and punctures. Splashes from grease or the chemicals in sanitizers can cause eye injuries. Workers get hurt reaching for items placed on high shelves. Kitchen and wait staff work with boiling water, ovens, stoves and hot plates that have the potential to burn. Even spilling a drink could result in a major injury.
Most common injuries for workers
The top four most common workplace injuries in food service include:
- Burns: Most burn-related workplace injuries occur in the food industry
- Cuts and puncture wounds: Cuts sometimes require a trip to the doctor for stitches, and deep punctures have the potential to cause serious internal damage
- Eye injuries: Without immediate treatment, workers risk long-term eye damage in some cases
- Sprains and strains: Slip and falls commonly result in sprains, and improper lifting often leads to strained muscles that cause debilitating pain
Employers have a responsibility to educate employees on the potential dangers in the workplace, but accidents happen, even when employees use all the required safety measures. In these cases, the harmed employee may have options to pursue compensation.