Restaurant Work-related Injuries Mercer and Middlesex County NJ
Learn what the main causes of workplace injury for restaurant employees are, and how to protect yourself if you are in the industry.
Usually, when we think of professions that run the risk for workplace accidents, we consider construction workers and those involved in the manufacturing industries. Every profession, however, has its own set of risks. And among the professions that have a high risk for workplace injury are restaurant workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nationwide, nearly 70,000 restaurant employees are injured to such an extent that they must take at least a day off from work. Restaurant employees – from cooks and dishwashers to waiters and maintenance workers – can run into a number of dangers during the course of their shifts, and their employers are legally responsible for ensuring their safety.
Most Common Accidents Employees Suffer in Restaurants
According to studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the main causes of injury for food and beverage service employees are
- sprains (stretching or tearing of ligaments), strains (stretched or torn muscles), and tears
- cuts, lacerations (tearing of soft tissue), and punctures
- fractures (break in the continuity of a bone)
- bruises and contusions (leaking of blood from a broken blood vessel or capillary into a surrounding area)
- heat burns
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that sprains, strains, and tears account for the majority of injuries in the foodservice injury, followed by cuts, lacerations, and punctures; fractures; bruises and contusions; and heat burns.
As prevalent and risky as these primary causes of injury are, however, there are other hidden perils of the restaurant industry that could cause injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that some of the risks to injury faced by restaurant workers are caused by such machines as grills, deep fryers, and stoves. In some cases, it is a pure accident or employee neglect that can cause the injury. However, in other cases, this equipment is somehow defective or not properly maintained.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Another huge risk in the restaurant industry is slippery surfaces. Slip and fall accidents account for more than eight million visits to the emergency room each year – a full twenty percent of emergency room visits, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. While these visits are not all tied to restaurant workers, food service industry employees do face a higher risk for slips and falls due to proximity to industrial dishwashers and grease and other oils in the restaurant kitchen. In fact, Marsh reports that 3 million restaurant workers are injured each year due to slips and falls.
Harmful and Toxic Substance Manipulation
Another risk that restaurant workers disproportionately face is subjection to harmful chemicals. Because of strict sanitation guidelines – rightfully placed by the New Jersey Department of Health – restaurant workers are often responsible for mixing and using many toxic chemicals to clean and disinfect surfaces in the kitchen, bathrooms, and dining rooms of restaurants. Even if an employee doesn’t come into direct contact with a harmful chemical, they are at risk of inhaling potentially harmful fumes, causing long-term respiratory issues. An employee who is being asked to mix chemicals or use these chemicals to disinfect for long periods of time could be being placed at an elevated risk for injury.
While there are multiple additional risks that a restaurant worker may be subject to due to their working conditions, the final one we will address today is overwork. In an industry in which much of an employee’s income often depends on tips, there is an incentive to work extended hours in order to have more face-time with customers. Many employers take advantage of this aspect of the nature of the foodservice industry and schedule their employees for doubles or even a string of shifts in a row over the course of a week. This can lead to exhaustion, which not only can cause injury in its own right but also elevates an employee’s risk of injuring themselves elsewhere on the job due to dulled senses.
Who Should Be Held Responsible in the Event of an Accident in a Restaurant
A restaurant employer is responsible for the safety and welfare of their employees, from creating a safe working environment to ensuring that their employees have the skills, training, and rest needed to properly complete their tasks. If you have been injured on the job due to unsafe working conditions, contact us today.
Contact a Work Accident Attorney today if Injured in the Kitchen or in the Dining Area of the Restaurant
At KCR, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys is committed to serving our clients in Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all cases regarding on-the-job injuries caused by restaurant employer negligence.