Food Service Accidents: Causes & Prevention

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

There are many hazards within a food service establishment. In this lesson, we will look at some of the more common accidents that can occur and preventative measures that can be taken to at least minimize the occurrence.

Looking at Working in a Food Establishment

Meet Cara! Cara decided that she wanted a part time job so that she would have a little disposable income. After looking around at the openings in her hometown, Cara decided to take a job working in a restaurant. She meets fellow employees and learns the duties of her job on her first day. While the first week goes great for Cara, it wasn't long before she wound up in the emergency room after burning her hand on one of the fryers in the kitchen. Feeling responsible for Cara's injury, the owner of the restaurant, Dave, decided to look at some of the most common accidents in food service operation so that he can do whatever it takes to prevent them. Here is what Dave found.

Importance and Basic Facts

Dave quickly learns that 1 in 20 injuries that happen on the job happen in a food service establishment. He also learns that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that for every $1 an establishment spends on safety programs, they can expect to save anywhere between $4 to $6 from costs involving injuries. Because many food service establishments do not think about injuries, they often find themselves unprepared or unaware of how to handle the accident or what to do to prevent it.

Top Accidents and Injuries

Because Dave does not want to be unprepared, and he certainly does not want what happen to Cara to happen to another employee, he decides to look at what the top injuries are within a food service establishment. They include:

  • Burns- There are many hot things that can cause burns, including fryers, stoves, ovens, and boiling water.
  • Cuts and punctures- Because food establishments have knives, and glass dishes, it is not surprising that sometimes employees get cut.
  • Strains and other muscle injuries- Workers often have to reach across large tables to clear them or grab items off of high shelves. These movements can cause strains. Food service workers also have to carry heavy items, like large tray, which can strain muscles.
  • Tripping- You may have noticed that many food establishments have large rugs. If a corner of a rug is not perfectly flat, it can cause someone to trip.
  • Eye problems- Obviously, getting something in your eye runs the risk of damage. In food establishments, there are many eye hazards, such as grease, and even cleaning products.
  • Auto accidents- Because many food establishments deliver food, employees are at risk of becoming injured in an automobile accident.
  • Hearing loss- Sometimes there is a lot of noise, especially if working a drive-through window. Repeated exposure to loud noise can damage hearing.

Preventing Accidents

Now that Dave knows some of the more common accidents, he wants to learn how to prevent them. Here is what he plans to do.

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