Restaurant kitchens are a hotbed for accidents. Staff face constant exposure to fires, boiling grease, and sharp objects. Add in a stressful, fast-paced work ethic and it’s no wonder that, on average, every restaurant in America files four workers’ comp claims per year. To get a better understanding of the most common workplace injuries for restaurant staff, let’s look at the top four hazards in the kitchen:
Burns may seem like an inevitable part of cooking, but they’re not. Burns are preventable with the use of safe cooking methods and proper equipment. Roughly 1-in-8 kitchen injuries result in a burn. While these are usually minor injuries, they cause unnecessary pain and create further distractions in an already tense work environment.
According to a report on workers’ compensation best practices, cuts make up nearly 25% of restaurant accidents. This could be for any number of reasons, including dull knives and an emphasis on speed.
People make mistakes when they’re under pressure, and dull knives only add to the problem. The duller a knife, the more difficult it is to cut quickly and accurately. Restaurants should make an effort to regularly sharpen their knives as it makes a big difference in avoiding these accidents.
Restaurant staffers are often charged with moving shipments into the kitchen. The temptation to do this quickly, combined with a lack of training in moving heavy objects can result in strains and sprains.
Any business requiring their employees to move heavy packages must provide proper training in lifting. As in physical fitness, lifting objects with proper form dramatically reduces the risk of injury.
Combined, restaurants across the country face nearly 4 million slip and fall accidents per year. For comparison, consider that car accidents number around 6 million per year. These accidents are due to several factors, including poorly maintained drink machines, improper grease disposal, a lack of anti-slip flooring, and a failure to clean messes as they happen.
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Workplace accidents are preventable. Avoiding tragedy starts with adequate training programs and identifying hazards as quickly as possible. Nobody should suffer serious injuries in the workplace because of the negligence of another.