When you hear the term “dangerous workplace,” you might think of a construction site or coal mine. However, the food service industry is not immune to workplace accidents. In fact, there are plenty of hazards that can make a restaurant dangerous or unhealthy.
If you work in a restaurant, you should be aware of potential hazards. Below are the most common restaurant hazards identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
As a food service employee, your environment may frequently expose you to the risk of a burn injury. Causes of burns include the following:
- Stove tops
- Preparing or serving hot food and drinks
The owner of the restaurant should provide proper training, devices and equipment to reduce the chances of burns. You can protect yourself by keeping liquids away from fryers, turning off the stove when it is not in use and getting help when carrying a heavy container of hot liquid.
2. Strains and sprains
Restaurants often have ergonomic hazards. The following activities may cause strains and sprains:
- Lifting heavy boxes or tables in an awkward position and/or without help
- Carrying and balancing too many plates at once
- Standing for a long period of time
Your manager should train you on the right way to lift and carry objects. You should always ask for assistance before carrying something heavy.
3. Slips, trips and falls
You could sustain a serious injury from slipping, tripping and falling due to the following conditions:
- Slippery or oily floors
- Grease spills
- Inadequate handrails
- Bad lighting
- Poor housekeeping
The owner or managers at your restaurant should install handrails in stairways, increase traction on walkways and replace worn-out carpet and rugs. You should mop wet and slippery floors as soon as possible and move carefully.
When you receive proper instruction and take care to act safely in your restaurant, you may avoid injuries. However, if you do get injured, you should look into filing a workers’ compensation claim.