Much has been made about the emotional and mental hardships hospitality and foodservice workers have faced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foodservice workers, such as servers, cooks, dishwashers, and maintenance staff, are also at high-risk of illness or injury. This is due to several factors, including hazardous working conditions, negligence, and human nature.
Special food service and private industry workers are among the most vulnerable to workplace injuries.
Injuries can occur at any time and workers should know they have rights regarding these matters, but what are the most common foodservice workplace injuries? We’ll explore them here.
A sprain can be defined as a stretch of the ligaments in a joint. The pain is usually moderate starting out but progressively gets worse if untreated.
With so much going on in the foodservice industry, sprains happen more often than not. From picking up boxes, stocking inventory, and handling equipment, to interacting with customers. A sprain can happen in an instant and should be immediately treated.
The best way to treat a sprain at work is to ice the area right away, keep it elevated, and take a couple of days off to rest.
The most common types of sprains are in the knees, ankles, and thumbs.
Foodservice workers typically obtain sprains from bad posture, repetition, excessive force, poorly designed tools, and poor work organization.
Lacerations, or cuts, may seem harmless in the beginning, but they should always be handled professionally and seriously regardless of their size.
A laceration is defined as a skin wound caused by blunt trauma. Foodservice workers deal with various knives and appliances every day that can easily tear through the skin if mishandled. These injuries must be treated with care, as blood and other bodily fluids could contaminate food.
The most common types of lacerations occur from puncture wounds, which can be caused by faulty tools or improper usage.
Burns can get nasty and pretty severe depending on the level of heat.
Foodservice workers deal with hot oils and kitchen equipment every shift and are among the highest victims of thermal workplace injuries. Numbers show food service workers make up 8.5 cases per every 10,000 full-time workers.
When a burn occurs in the workplace, that worker immediately needs to apply a cold pack to the affected area to soothe the injury. To prevent infection, the burn should be wrapped in gauze or a bandage. You mustn't ice a burn as this will only prolong healing.
No matter how severe, burns require immediate attention and typically prevent the employee from completing their shift. Even minor burns should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
Staying Safe in the Foodservice Industry
Foodservice workers face a tremendous risk serving the public in ever-changing conditions.
All food industry positions are equally susceptible, whether you’re in the kitchen dealing with knives and heat, or in the drive-thru interacting with customers directly.
You should always follow the proper procedure for treating an injury at work. Jobsites are required to have a first-aid onsite in case of accidents, per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) orders.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job
Employees who are injured or hurt on the job can file a claim for workers compensation benefits, regardless of fault. In turn, their employer or its insurer will then pay for medical expenses and lost wages for the time period when the worker is recovering from the injuries. Unfortunately, for some injured workers, receiving workers compensation benefits is more complex or difficult than they initially anticipated. An experienced workers comp attorney can handle your case and make sure you get the benefits you need to recover from your injury and move forward.
Brandon J. Broderick, Workers Compensation Attorneys in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with their workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. If you’ve been injured or your claim has recently been denied, contact us immediately to understand your options.