When we think of workplace injuries in Hollywood and South Florida, we often think of construction workers and other workers whose jobs are “obviously” dangerous. But there are hidden dangers in most jobs, and some of the jobs considered among the most dangerous might surprise you.
The next time you’re dining at one of the restaurants in South Florida, look around the dining area. You are sitting in a potentially hazardous workplace. Worldwide, one out of twenty workplace injuries happen at restaurants and bars.
Causes of Restaurant Workplace Injuries
What makes on-the-job injuries and illnesses in this sector so common? There are many risks in any restaurant:
- Sharp objects, such as knives
- A high-speed environment (during rush hours), creating the possibility of injury
- Dim lighting for mood (which can also pose a tripping hazard)
- Hot stoves and dishes heated to a high temperature, creating a burn hazard
- Servers carrying large trays or groups of plates (which means they might not see what’s in front of them and may face tripping hazards)
- Broken dishes and plates
- Spilled foods are a possibility in any kitchen or on any dining floor
- Dining area or bar patrons may become belligerent or even violent
- Harsh chemicals used in cleaning can cause chemical burns or illness
- Splashing oil from frying foods can cause facial or eye injuries
- Overexertion caused by lifting heavy objects or crates of ingredients
- Some food establishments have high employee turnover rates, meaning staff may not get a chance to adjust to hazards in the workplace
Of course, some restaurant owners do work hard to provide a safe work place and a safe establishment for diners. However, when property owners are negligent in providing their wait staff, cooks, and other employees with a safe environment, the results can be disastrous.
Preventing restaurant workplace accidents
There are many things business owners can do to make wait staff and other employees of food and beverage establishments safer:
- They can use bouncers or other security staff to deal with unruly patrons
- They can keep a well-stocked first aid kit in the area for minor burns and injuries
- They can ensure that all staff – including temporary and new staff – get thorough safety training
- They can institute and enforce a written policy for dealing with hazards — such as spills, chipped plates, and other dangers that can lead to injuries
- They can maintain safe and reasonable working hours for staff
- They can ensure the restaurant is equipped with the right safety equipment — such as covers for grease pans, fire extinguishers, and heavy gloves and aprons for cooking and cleaning
- They can have standardized and regular evaluations of the workplace to check for safety standards and safety measures
If you work in the food industry and have been injured on the job, you deserve support. If you have suffered an injury, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. From our offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami, we have worked hard to represent South Florida clients who have been injured in workplace accidents. We would be pleased to offer you legal advice and support. Simply contact us for your free case analysis.