Four Common Injuries in the Food Industry
Do you work in the food industry? Every business covers different common injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation, even in the food industry. Therefore, knowing your workers’ compensation rights can be crucial to your health and well-being.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Workers in the special food services industry experienced occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work at a rate of 107.6 per 10,000 full-time employees.” Workplace injury is part of the risk that an employer must plan accordingly. In Florida, it is required that employers offer workers’ compensation insurance in place for their employees. And some employees can be at a higher risk for personal injury than others.
4 Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in the Food Industry
1. Cuts, Punctures, and Scrapes
As you work with different tools throughout the kitchen, learning how to use knives, slicers, blenders, and any device that may be sharp could help in avoiding a trip to the emergency room for a cut. A slip-up when you are peeling, dicing, and chopping at work can easily lead to severe lacerations.
- Avoid talking to your coworkers when using a knife or slicer. Talking can be distracting and increase your chances of cutting yourself.
- Do not crush trash bags when throwing them out. Sharp objects in the trash may poke through and cause scrapes or cuts.
- If glass breaks, clean around the site as soon as possible. To pick up the tiny glass particles, grab a paper towel and press it against the floor.
2. Burns and Scalds
Because restaurants are constantly cooking food in or around hot stoves, the percentage of burns is higher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLMS), burns are the most commonly seen injuries in the food industry. Thermal burns in food services occur at a rate of 8.5 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.
- Never leave your stove unattended while cooking. Make sure to turn off the stove if you plan on leaving the kitchen unattended.
- Keep your cooking area free of flammable materials. Anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, food packaging, and paper, must be far from the stovetop.
- Wear close-fitted or tightly-rolled sleeves while cooking. Wearing loose clothes can easily catch fire if it touches a glass flame or an electric burner.
3. Muscle Strains and Sprains
Muscle strains and sprains are among the most common injuries in the food industry and all sectors, but they can be preventable. You strain a muscle or a tendon when it is stretched or torn by lifting heavy objects or over-exerting yourself. Sprains are a ligament injury type that is stretched or torn. Muscle strains and sprains can be felt suddenly or develop over days, weeks, or months.
- Avoid awkward postures. Awkward postures increase the risk of a muscle strain or sprain because it overloads the muscles and tendons around the joint.
- Excessive repetition may lead to a high risk of a strain or sprain. A task is considered highly repetitive if the work is 30 seconds or less.
4. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips and falls are a typical physical issue in the food administration industry. Kitchen floors are often slippery, and hazardous grease, drinks, and food are all factors that can cause slip and fall injuries. This is why people who work in the food industry are recommended to wear slip-resistant work shoes. A non-slip work shoe can help you maintain balance and traction on slippery floors.
- Make sure to require all employees to wear slip-resistant solid shoes that have low heels.
- Place an entrance mat for employees to remove any moisture from their shoes. This is important to avoid making the floors slippery for other co-workers.
- If a spill takes place, do not leave it unattended. Place a “Wet Floor” sign by the spill until the area is clean and dry.
Understanding the food industry’s risks allows employers and employees to work together and ensure a safe work environment to decrease the chance of workplace injuries.
If you believe that your workplace injury is eligible for workers' compensation, reach out to Carrillo Injury Law today and we can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.