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3 workplace hazards faced by workers in restaurant kitchens

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2024 | Workplace Safety

Every area in a restaurant poses unique risks and hazards. The host might experience customer violence or an attempted robbery. They might also be at risk of bribery attempts or sexual harassment. Servers are at risk of injury from heavy lifting repeatedly throughout the day or of a slip-and-fall as they rush to get what their customers request.

Those working in the back of the house or the kitchen at a restaurant face a unique set of hazards that could put them at risk of injury. The following are some of the biggest safety concerns for cooks, prep workers and others working in the kitchen area of a restaurant.

Dangerous equipment

From knives and stoves to slicers with spinning blades, there are many hazardous items used to keep the kitchen in a restaurant running. Accidental contact with many of these objects could cause severe injury. Any machinery or equipment malfunctions could also lead to preventable worker injuries ranging from severe burns to traumatic amputations.

Repetitive stress injuries

One of the most common injuries associated with kitchen work isn’t a traumatic injury at all. Instead, it is a form of cumulative trauma that develops from doing the same job tasks every day. Whether someone spends hours washing dishes or chopping onions, they can damage their bodies by performing repetitive job tests in a kitchen.

Slip-and-fall injuries

Front-of-the-house staff aren’t the only ones who tend to rush while performing their jobs. Those in the kitchen constantly feel the pressure of needing to get dishes out as fast as possible for waiting customers. Faster turnover means more tables and more profit. Particularly if cooks have to move from one station to the next or if someone who does dishwashing also works as a busser, rushing around the restaurant could lead to them falling. A slip-and-fall could break bones, cause soft tissue injuries or lead to a brain injury. All of those injuries could force someone to take a temporary leave of absence. Some of them could be severe enough to force them to change careers.

Workers’ compensation benefits can help restaurant workers who get hurt in the back of the house. Knowing what job hazards are can help people avoid them and may also help people recognize when they could qualify for workers’ compensation in the event that they get hurt despite their best efforts.