The restaurant industry is a fast paced work environment full of safety hazards and stressful situations. This combination can lead to accidents fairly frequently if safety precautions are not taken. Some of the more common injuries employees endure include:
A lot of work in the kitchen involves hot oil and greasy substances. Moreover, activities are done hastily. This leaves little to no time to cover your eyes. As a result, splashes of hot oil end up in the eyes. Wearing eye protection, having an eye wash station, or simply having proper safety training can help limit the number of injuries. Constant eye injuries without professional care may lead to permanent eye damage.
Lacerations and Cuts
Restaurants cannot function without knives and other sharp equipment. Inevitably, employees cut themselves. For minor cuts, proper cleaning and bandaging usually will suffice. However, some cuts are deep and can result in permanent damage to the skin or nerves on the cut surface. Such lacerations should be treated with disinfectant to keep the wound from bacterial infections. Medical attention may be needed.
Burns and Scalds
Form boiling water to hot flames and fryers, these restaurant hazards all increase the chances of workers getting burnt. Statistics show that about a third of all occupational burns occur in the restaurant industry. Minor burns can be treated with a simple cream while serious burns require immediate medical attention.
Sprains and Falls
Kitchen floors are slippery due to the constant wetness of the floor. This is potentially dangerous for restaurant workers who may slip and fall hitting their heads or spraining their ankles. Muscle ointments can be used to treat sprains. However, those who hit their heads should seek medical attention to avoid developing concussion. Keeping the floors clean and free of liquid while having a walk don’t run policy will minimize injuries.
Strains and Bulging Discs
Many restaurant workers lift heavy objects. This may cause a strain on their muscles. Overexertion leads to pain in the back, shoulders and neck. Strains should be treated with a muscle ointment. A pain reliving ointment is also useful to relieve back, shoulder and neck pain. Lift training and pre-work stretching can reduce the frequency of injury.
The use of toxic chemicals in cleaning or the constant exposure to fumes may cause intoxication in workers. Continuous toxic exposure causes illnesses. Proper ventilation in the kitchen is mandatory for these types of hazards.
The high temperature conditions in restaurant kitchens can asphyxiate workers. Taking regular breaks and making sure proper air flow through the kitchen is necessary. This kind of injury can cause death.
Restaurant injuries can range between being minor or severe causing death. To avoid the latter, there are few preventive measures that can be taken by employers to ensure the safety of their employees.
-Periodic inspections to uncover workplace hazards and remedy them before any injury occurs.
-The use of appropriate clothing such as gloves or boots to protect the workers.
-Training workers on how to avoid hazardous chemicals and how to respond to injuries.
-Having workers with first aid training to help when an injury occurs.
-Installing a fully stocked first aid cabinet.
OSHA has set regulations for restaurants to deal with the common injury menace. They include:
-Cooling rooms with air conditioning or fans for employees due to the high temperature working conditions.
-Dry floors and adequate sink drainage systems to clear pools of water from the floor.
-Raised platforms or mats are preferred
Common injuries should not hinder any potential restaurant owner. Utilize this knowledge to create an injury-free environment for your employees.
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