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Injuries in the Restaurant Industry

Written by Ankin Law Office

Workers in the restaurant industry have a high rate of injuries caused by cuts and abrasions, burns, falls, and dangerous chemicals.

Risks Restaurant Workers Face

The restaurant industry presents a number of hazards that contribute to injuries for workers. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports, one in twenty on-the-job injuries to workers occur at restaurants. Due to cooking and constant activity, restaurant workers face a high risk for occupational accidents and injuries.

Employees in busy restaurants are required to work at a fast pace to keep up with service demands. Due to demanding schedules and customers, restaurant workers have a high risk for workplace accidents and injuries that could otherwise be avoided. Cooks, food servers, and bartenders face a variety of injury risks that are common within the restaurant industry.

  • Lacerations and puncture wounds
  • Burns from hot surfaces and cooking oils
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Eye injuries
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 50% of worker injuries reported within the restaurant industry are caused by burns and falls. Most burns are caused by hot grease and cooking oil in the kitchen, and most falls are caused by wet or slippery floors. Serious eye injuries are often caused by splashes from hot grease or sanitizing chemicals used in cleaning. Such injuries require immediate medical treatment to prevent permanent eye damage or blindness.

Work injury lawyers see severe injuries to restaurant workers caused by serious burns and slip and fall accidents. Approximately one-third of occupational burn injuries occur in restaurants, accounting for about 12,000 reported burn injuries each year. While male restaurant workers report more burn and laceration injuries that occur in the kitchen, female workers report more muscle strains and sprains associated with serving food and clearing tables. Restaurant work is particularly dangerous for teen workers. Over a two-year period, NIOSH reported close to 45,000 teen injuries reported in hamburger, pizza, and fast-food restaurants.

In Illinois, restaurant workers who suffer work-related injuries are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their employer, regardless of who is at fault for the accident and injury. Workers’ compensation for restaurant workers is available for cooks, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, and delivery drivers employed by the restaurant. If injuries are caused by a restaurant patron or someone outside of the workplace, a work injury lawyer can pursue a third-party claim to recover damages.