Food service is often thought of as a well-regulated industry that provides many opportunities for young people, including teens. The industry has as high an accident rate as any other, and some additional risks.
Any commercial kitchen can be a dangerous place to work. They are generally hot, noisy, and fast-paced environments that can lead to human error and unsafe conditions. Both food and beverage industries require extra caution due to several hazards.
Stocking up on supplies often requires lifting and moving heavy boxes of canned or frozen goods that can cause back strain, pulled muscles, or injury due to falls or improperly stacked boxes. Warehousing of food products also involves the risk of injuries from equipment like forklifts and conveyor belts.
Within commercial kitchens, food prep using knives, slicers, grinders, and similar equipment have led to severe cuts and even loss of fingers. Mixers and other electric appliances may also catch long hair, jewelry, or loose clothing to inflict damage.
One of the greater risks specific to the industry is the greater chance of catching foodborne illnesses. Unsanitary conditions or ingredients that have outlived their shelf-life are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. These can include E. coli, listeria. salmonella, novo virus, and more. Such illnesses are constant threats for employees with open cuts or who are tempted to sample foods.
Freeze at Work
Many restaurants, and nearly all food storage facilities, have walk-in freezers or even large warehouses for frozen foods. Sub-zero temperatures are also a hazard for workers who are inadequately dressed, wear damp clothes, or spend prolonged periods in freezers. Cold temperatures affect both mental and physical abilities.
Those who are incapacitated by accidents or exposure may suffer hypothermia and even frostbite if they are left alone too long. Injury from unsafe working conditions may be grounds for calling a personal injury attorney from Bennett & Sharp PLLC or a similar firm in your area.
Burn Your Skin
Kitchens are inevitably going to involve hot ovens, griddles, burners, and hot pots and pans that can cause severe burns. One of the biggest burn hazards, however, is spatter from grease or oil in deep fryers. These liquids are very hot, and a small amount can penetrate clothing and cause third-degree burn scars. Burns can be a life-long injury. If you’re hurt through someone else’s neglect, a personal injury case may be your best option.
Food service is not always safe or easy employment. Be alert and follow every protective measure you can.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.