Whether you wait tables, cook or manage the front of the house, restaurant employees are at risk for workplace injury. Burns, falls and other incidents can lead to lost wages and costly medical expenses.
Protect yourself with these safety tips for foodservice and restaurant workers.
Take care with equipment
Never use kitchen appliances, ovens and equipment when you do not have the proper training. Always operate these tools and such equipment according to manufacturer instruction. Avoid using damaged appliances, and keep electrical tools away from sinks and wet prep areas.
Wear non-skid shoes to keep yourself from falling on a wet restaurant floor. If your workplace does not have non-skid mats in food prep areas, recommend this type of safety equipment to management. If you notice a spill, put out wet floor signs right away, and let the appropriate person know about the issue.
Shield skin from burns
When cooking at a restaurant, always wear long sleeves and long pants to protect your skin. Keep pot handles away from burners, and do not overcrowd the stove. When you have to touch something hot, wear dry oven mitts or gloves. Take extra care around hot oil, and make sure to fill food baskets only halfway before placing them into the fryer.
Use knives safely
Sharp knives can cause serious injury with just a slip of the hand. When using a knife, make sure that it is sharp, and slice with the blade away from your body. When using machines such as slicers, mixers and grinders, make sure that they have blade guards. Also, keep your hands well clear of the blades.
Lift heavy objects safely
When you need to lift a heavy box or piece of equipment, use the right posture to protect your back. Instead of stooping down, bend your body at the knees and hips. Keep your back straight and your head up, and hold the item close to your body as you lift.
If you do experience a work injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. This program covers lost wages, medical bills and other expenses.