Working in a kitchen can be a lucrative job opportunity for many Americans, but with these opportunities come very real risk. Dangers abound in the average kitchen — which is why restaurant owners and their employees have to take great care to educate themselves on kitchen safety and use appropriate safety equipment at their workplaces.
One way to prevent injuries is to know the risks – and take care when these risks are present. Here are some of the most common injuries suffered by restaurant kitchen workers:
Cuts from knives and other equipment: Most restaurant kitchens are not complete without sharp knives and other types of equipment that chop, slice and dice. In most cases, injuries related to this equipment are likely, but usually they’re minor. However, it’s easy for an accident to result in a serious laceration or puncture wound.
Burns from kitchen appliances: Hot cooking equipment, hot grease and boiling water have caused numerous injuries to restaurant workers. The threat of these injuries requires cooks and restaurant staff to stand back from hot pots and pans. Restaurant workers are encouraged to take it slowly rather than trying to rush to complete a job.
Back problems, neck problems and repetitive strain injuries: Restaurant workers may find themselves severely injured with back problems, neck problems and repetitive strain injuries, caused by the daily grind of their job responsibilities. One might believe that chopping, mixing, stirring, washing dishes and other tasks are simple and routine to perform; however, doing these tasks repetitively for years can result in debilitating injuries.
Chef’s Foot: Many people have heard of the condition known as “Chef’s Foot.” This arthritic illness develops after standing in a certain way for years while tending to kitchen tasks. It’s important for chefs and kitchen workers to wear comfortable shoes in order to prevent this injury from developing over time.
Injured kitchen workers can usually apply to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Learning more about one’s legal rights and options as an injured kitchen worker will help workers pursue these kinds of helpful benefits after suffering from a job-related injury or illness.