Hospitality Hazards: The 7 Most Common Workplace Hazards in Restaurants

According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), restaurant workers are 60% more likely to suffer workplace hazards than people in other industries. In fact, due to severe injuries, food industry workers take time off work twice as often as other types of workers. These statistics sound alarming, and they do provide a strong imperative for business owners to ensure they have workers’ comp for restaurants. However, most accidents can be avoided through good training and clear protocols. 

Below, we’ll go over some of the most common workplace hazards restaurant workers face. While the list is not exhaustive, it will help you understand just how important workplace safety is in this industry. Knowing the dangers is the first step in developing bulletproof plans for preventing and addressing them. 

1. Falls

The number one workplace hazard of working in a restaurant is falling. Kitchens demand endless dishwashing, which often results in water splashing on the floor. Further, food prep, spills, mopping, and other tasks all create the perfect circumstances for slips, trips, and falls that result in injury. 

The best thing restaurant staff can do is make sure anything that hits the floor is cleaned up right away. As mentioned, restaurant owners should have a comprehensive workers’ comp policy to cover employees should injuries occur in the workplace. 

2. Cuts

A lot of chopping and slicing takes place in a restaurant, so avoiding lacerations can be challenging. As a restaurant owner or manager, you must ensure your staff knows how to safely handle knives and other slicing equipment. You should also have a first aid kit available and easily accessible. 

3. Burns

Burns are another hazard of working in a restaurant. From hot oil and water to stovetops and ovens, there are many ways restaurant workers can sustain burns. If a member of your team gets burned, immediately flush the area with cool water and wrap it loosely with gauze to protect it. 

4. Equipment Accidents

Kitchens contain a host of hazardous equipment, including meat slicers, fryers, mixers, and more, all of which can be dangerous if not used or maintained properly. As a restaurant owner, you must ensure your workers know how to properly use, clean, and maintain such equipment to avoid injuries. 

Read More: The Wow Factors About Fine Dining Restaurants

5. Falling Objects

Believe it or not, falling objects cause many restaurant injuries. From ill-stacked pots and pans and bumped knives to collapsing shelves and cascading pepper mills, falling objects can cause a wide range of bruises, scrapes, cuts, and even concussions. 

6. Chemicals

Not many people realize it, but restaurants are full of chemicals. There are degreasers, bathroom cleaners, sanitizers, and other hazardous substances that can cause skin irritation, rashes, and respiratory issues if not used properly. All food industry workers should wear the recommended protective gear to reduce the risk of injury while using these products. 

7. Fire

Restaurants present a plethora of fire hazards, including open flames on gas stoves and combustible products such as cooking oils and chemicals. Cooking equipment fires, electrical fires, and gas leaks are also concerns in a restaurant setting. According to the US Fire Administration, nearly 64% of all restaurant fires in the United States are caused by cooking and cooking equipment. 

As you can see from the information provided above, restaurant safety training is vital for all food industry workers. With so many potential hazards, restaurant employees must be aware of the dangers and practice recommended safety guidelines to avoid falling victim to these common workplace hazards.

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