If you find yourself among the millions who make a living working in some segment of the food-service industry, you face unique on-the-job hazards that can impact your health, cause injuries and affect your overall wellness. While some food-service worker injuries are relatively minor, such as minor back strains or burns, others can prove severe and even potentially deadly in nature.
Recognizing where your on-the-job risks lie can help you learn to minimize them and protect yourself on the job as much as possible, so know that many restaurant and food-service worker injuries involve:
Many food-service positions involve heavy lifting. Servers often have to carry heavy trays and plates, while back-of-house workers often must unload food deliveries and relocate heavy equipment. Other workers might have to move tables and chairs regularly, and anyone who engages in repetitive heavy lifting runs the risk of suffering a serious sprain or strain. Additionally, you can exacerbate these risks by failing to utilize proper lifting techniques when moving heavy furniture, trays, machinery or other goods.
Many food service and restaurant workers also run the risk of suffering on-the-job burns. Cooks and chefs can burn themselves on stoves or hot equipment, and they can also suffer burns if food or hot liquid splashes up and comes in contact with their skin. Dishwashers, too, face the risk of burns, as do servers who might grab hot plates, accidentally touch hot surfaces or spill plates of food or hot drinks on themselves.
As someone who works in food service, you are probably aware that slip-and-fall accidents are also commonplace in restaurant and hospitality environments. Spilled drinks and insufficient cleaning can leave pools of water or liquid on the floor, creating slippery, dangerous surfaces. Additionally, the busy nature of the restaurant industry means servers, food runners and others are often running around corners and otherwise rushing to accomplish tasks, which can lead them to collide and suffer falls. Loose carpeting and insufficient lighting can also enhance your risk of slipping and falling in a food-service environment.
Your employer has a duty to minimize risks and protect you and other workers to the fullest extent possible, but restaurant worker injuries still affect employees across the industry, from fast-food operations to fine-dining establishments.