As a chef, you know that there is almost always work available. While the work may be tough and involve long hours, you will rarely remain jobless.
However, the fast-paced nature of the work can leave you open to workplace injuries. While most are minor, each year, many chefs need to claim on their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance due to injuries that require time off work. Here are some of the things to watch out for if you work in a restaurant kitchen:
- Sharp objects: You probably use your knife more than any other kitchen tool, and you use it fast. It only takes one moment of inattention to julienne your finger instead of a carrot.
- Slippery surfaces: Restaurant kitchens have easy to clean floors for hygiene. Unfortunately, these smooth surfaces soon become slippery when someone drops food or spills liquid.
- Heavy or awkward items: Industrial size pans can be heavy when full. Bulk purchase foodstuffs can also weigh a lot. When time is of the essence, it can be tempting to lift the sack of potatoes alone rather than waiting for help.
- Hot food and pans: Unless you work in a salad bar, you are likely surrounded by open flames, sizzling oil and steaming liquids. There is a potential for serious injury if a pressure cooker explodes or a pan of simmering stock falls onto you.
It would be unrealistic to expect to work as a chef and never receive a cut to your finger or burn your hand on a too hot plate. Those things heal fast and could be considered par for the course. However, some restaurant accidents could leave you with a temporary or permanent disability which leaves you unable to work.