Working in a restaurant can be a fulfilling and fast-paced career choice. However, it is important to acknowledge the potential hazards that restaurant workers face on a daily basis.
Restaurant owners and workers should take a close look at common workplace risks in restaurants and practical tips to mitigate them.
Slips, trips, falls and burns
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that private-sector employers in South Carolina reported 34,100 nonfatal job-related injuries and illnesses in 2022. Unfortunately, many of these injuries occurred in restaurants. One of the most prevalent risks in any restaurant setting is slips, trips and falls. Spills, wet floors, cluttered walkways and uneven surfaces can contribute to accidents. To prevent such incidents, restaurant workers should clean up spills immediately and place caution signs, ensure proper lighting in all areas and keep walkways clear of obstacles and clutter. Slip-resistant shoes can help improve traction.
Restaurant workers are also exposed to high temperatures, hot surfaces and boiling liquids, making burns and scalds a common occurrence. Preventive measures include using oven mitts or gloves when handling hot objects, labeling hot surfaces and equipment and being cautious when working with fryers, grills and steamers.
Cuts and chemicals
Sharp knives, slicers and other kitchen tools pose a significant risk of cuts and lacerations. To minimize these risks, workers should use appropriate safety equipment, such as cut-resistant gloves. Additionally, they should inspect and maintain sharp tools to avoid accidents caused by dull blades, follow proper cutting techniques and use cutting boards. Cleaning agents, sanitizers and other chemicals used in restaurants can also pose risks if not handled correctly. To ensure safety, employees should have training on the proper handling, storage and usage of chemicals. They should use appropriate personal protective equipment like gloves and goggles and ensure proper ventilation while using dangerous chemicals.
By implementing safety measures and promoting a culture of awareness, restaurant workers and their employers can create a safer working environment. Remember, workplace safety is a shared responsibility. Together, they can make restaurants a safer place for everyone.