Restaurant owners and managers have the same responsibility that other employers do to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This can be difficult because restaurants, particularly the kitchens, can subject workers to high-pressure and high-heat situations.
Despite this, workplace injuries at restaurants are relatively rare, with each establishment seeing an annual average of four workers’ compensation claims. Nevertheless, this can amount to a cost of $45,600 per year, or the equivalent of 1,300 casual-dining meals sold. It is in both employers’ and employees’ leading interests to identify potential hazards in a restaurant setting and take steps to mitigate them.
- Slips and falls
Since 1980, slip-and-fall accidents in a restaurant setting have increased by 300%. They account for 20% of all back-of-house accidents. The cost per claim averages to $5,800 for a quick-service restaurant. Spilled food, liquids or grease on the floor often contribute to these accidents.
- Lacerations, punctures and cuts
22% of back-of-house injuries in restaurants are due to sharp objects penetrating the skin, and sometimes the underlying tissues. Sometimes these result from broken glassware or chipped dishes. More often, however, they are due to blenders, mixers, slicers and grinders, as well as knives, used to prepare food.
- Burns and scalds
Perhaps unsurprising given the heat required to cook food, burn injuries are relatively common in restaurant kitchens. They account for approximately 13% of back-of-house accidents. Sometimes, these injuries occur because of splashing from heated liquids, such as boiling water or hot oil, or steam from cooking receptacles. Such injuries are specifically referred to as scalds. Nevertheless, the symptoms that a scald injury causes can be the same, or nearly so, as those of a burn injury.
Restaurant owners and managers stand to save money and retain employees by preventing workplace accidents. A big part of this is establishing appropriate safety protocols and providing employees with rigorous training in them.