Hazards for Restaurant Workers
April 22, 2018
Usually when we write about workplace hazards and dangers, it has to do with people employed in industries like construction or manufacturing. Restaurant workers or individuals who work in the restaurant industry are also at risk for workplace injuries and illnesses. Just like any other industry, restaurant employers and chain companies are legally responsible for keeping their employees safe.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 70,000 restaurant workers per year are injured severely enough to require at least one day away from work. Shockingly, about 20% of restaurant employees in one year can be hurt badly enough to lose one full month of work. Some of the most common injuries restaurant workers face as occupational hazards are:
- Wrist and hand injuries;
- Back and shoulder injuries;
- Lacerations, bruises and cuts, and:
- Sprains and strains
There are some very specific hazards that both front of house (e.g. waiters, hosts/hostesses, bussers) and back of house (e.g. cooks, dishwashers, chefs) regularly encounter. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of these are:
- Equipment like deep fryers, grills and stoves that can be unsafe or defective – and cause numerous burns;
- Slips, trips and falls from wet or slippery floors;
- Injuries from lifting or carrying loads that are too heavy to move without helpers or assisting devices;
- Chemical exposure resulting in respiratory issues and other health problems;
- Cuts from improperly or defectively guarded (or completely unguarded) baking and slicing machinery, and:
- Assault – especially for employees who handle money
In order to limit preventable workplace injuries for employees – and even to help keep visiting customers safe, OSHA recommends that employers implement comprehensive safety and health programs.
Some may be too quick to underestimate the dangerous nature of restaurant work but the truth is workers in that industry become victims of safety failures and unethical business. Because so many of these events are preventable, it’s essential that employers don’t cut corners and undervalue worker health and safety for the sake of short-term profits. In the long run, providing comprehensive health and safety programs actually helps employers save money by preventing employee injuries and subsequent workers’ compensation claims.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Injured in the Workplace
If you’re a restaurant worker who was injured or became ill as a result of safety failures in your workplace, please contact our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.