A survey done in 2015 found that 79% of adults who worked in a non-managerial position at fast-food restaurants throughout the country have been burned at work within the previous year and 58% said they had suffered multiple burns. The Burn Foundation estimates 12,000 employees in the food industry suffer burns each year—the highest number in any employment sector.
Burns are a serious risk in the food industry and often result in workers’ compensation claims needing to be filed. On average a worker will miss 17.5 days of work as a result of suffering a burn.
Top causes for burns in restaurants:
- Hot liquids, steam, oils, and grease
- Hot sauces and foods
- Stoves, grills, and ovens
- Fires caused by hot oil or grease
- Exposed electrical wires or appliances
- Malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment
While burns can be caused by different sources (hot stoves, steam, electrical, etc.), a deeper exploration found common elements between the underlying reasons of why a burn occurred. Top among these were inexperience (teenagers are burned at a higher rate than any other age group) and pressure to work at a faster pace. With the labor shortages, these pressures continue to rise and so do workers’ compensation claims.
What can you do to keep workers safe?
- Provide safety equipment and implement safety measures designed to prevent burns, including:
- Wearing appropriate gloves and protection gear
- Providing cleaning tools, such as grill scrapers, with long handles
- Install slip-resistant flooring to prevent falls (and accidental contact with hot equipment/foods)
- Allow hot grease to cool before moving it
- Provide training on how to extinguish different types of fire (i.e., smothering a grease fire)
- Set up your kitchen with burns in mind. Specifically, don’t require employees to reach over or across hot surfaces and burners.
- Communicate with staff and managers the importance of safety precautions, specifically mentioning the need to work at a safe pace around ovens, stoves, and fryers. With many restaurants being understaffed the pressure to work faster is mounting, communicate with all levels of staff your expectations when it comes to safety to ensure everyone is on the same page and empowered to work safely.
- Enforce a strict drugs & alcohol policy. Working while impaired is known to reduce reaction times and diminish judgement that could lead to cutting corners and ignoring safety precautions.
- Train staff on burn first aid techniques and provide an appropriately stocked burn first aid kit to treat burns quickly and correctly.
Let us help you with your risk management
Did you know Concklin Insurance Agency offers training and resources designed to mitigate losses and reduce risks in the food industry? For more information contact your Insurance Agent directly or call 630-268-1600 to be connected.