While you may not consider your job in a restaurant or food service setting to be as dangerous as, say, a job that involves driving or working from heights, there are still serious hazards you face every time you clock in. Though the exact hazards you face on a regular basis will vary somewhat based on whether you work as a server, prep cook or what have you, there are certain risks that apply industry-wide, and many of them have the capacity to hurt you badly enough to result in missed work.
Just what are some of the more common injury risks faced by food service workers?
Anytime you work with hot substances, you run the risk of suffering a burn injury, and restaurant and foodservice settings are typically chock full of such hazards. Kitchen workers run the risk of suffering burns caused by splashed grease and hot cooktops, for example, while servers and food runners can experience burns caused by hot plates, spilled liquids and so on.
Exposure to toxins and chemicals
Restaurants and food service operations must undergo regular cleaning to ensure a safe environment, but some chemicals and substances used to clean kitchens and restaurants have the capacity to cause you harm. Certain pesticides and particular types of oven, grill and drain cleaners can cause eye problems and skin irritation, among other potential side effects.
Repetitive strain injuries
As a restaurant or food service worker, you may also develop repetitive strain injuries over time as a result of moving heavy furniture or food deliveries, favoring one side of the body when carrying heavy trays, and so on. In some cases, such injuries can lead to issues with your muscles, nerves and ligaments, and some people who experience these injuries end up requiring surgery to correct them.
While these are some of the more common hazards today’s food service industry workers face, do recognize that this is not an exhaustive list of all common injury risks related to the industry.