How To Reduce Common Restaurant Injuries

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: Restaurants are returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels, which could result in an increased risk of employee workplace injuries. As detailed in the AmTrust 2022 Restaurant Risk Report, restaurant worker safety is crucial. By learning how to prevent common injuries in the kitchen, restaurant employers can help keep their staff safe and healthy.

Prevent Restaurant Injuries

After a few trying years with COVID-19 shutdowns and adjustments, the restaurant industry is on a solid rebound. The National Restaurant Association 2022 State of the Industry report forecasted that the food service industry would reach nearly $900 billion in sales in 2022, with the workforce expected to grow by 400,000 jobs to total industry employment of 14.9 million by the end of the year.

Restaurant Staff Injuries and Workers’ Compensation Claims

With restaurants returning to full strength, there is an increased risk of workplace accidents on the main floor or in the kitchens. Based on claims data shared in the AmTrust 2022 Restaurant Risk Report, we found that some injuries, such as crushing, mental stress, fainting and inflammation, have increased after the pandemic shutdowns. These increases are partly due to labor shortages, the great reshuffle and return to work.

But, overall, when you factor in the number of active payroll employees, our report found that reported injuries were down 25% during 2020 and remained below pre-pandemic numbers in 2021 at -5%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers, including the restaurant industry, reported 2.6 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2021, a 1.8% decrease from 2020.

Common Types of Restaurant Worker Injuries

Restaurants can pose a variety of hazards and injury risks for both employees and customers. For employees, there is a possibility of slip and fall accidents, cuts, punctures and scrapes, burns from hot surfaces, or muscle strains from lifting boxes and supplies. Customers can slip and fall on wet floors, slippery parking lots, or walkways.

Cuts are the most common cause of injury in restaurants, but falls are more costly on average. Fingers are the most commonly injured body part – occurring 70% more than the second most common body injury of multiple body parts. However, hands have the highest average claim amount at nearly $800 per claim.

Restaurant Workplace Safety Tips

Protecting a restaurant’s most valuable asset – its employees – is of utmost importance. Promoting restaurant workplace safety to help reduce employee injuries and expensive claims is one way to help keep your staff healthy and productive and keep your restaurant workers’ compensation premiums down. How can restaurants reduce some of the most common injuries? Keeping restaurant workers safe includes the following tips:

Preventing Cuts, Punctures and Laceration In The Kitchen

  • Wear protective gear, like steel mesh or Kevlar gloves, to guard hands against knives and mandolin slicers, and sturdy, closed-toe shoes to protect feet should a knife be accidentally dropped
  • Use stable cutting boards or a solid surface when chopping and cut away from the body
  • Properly store knives when not in use
  • Use designated buckets to dispose of broken glass, bottles and plates – do not use regular trash
  • Do not pick up broken glass with bare hands
  • Do not carry knives in your pocket

How to Prevent Burns for Restaurant Workers

  • Use protective oven mitts or gloves when lifting hot pots and pans – not a hand towel
  • Wear splatter shields or gauntlets to protect arms from hot grease splashes
  • Allow heavy, hot stockpots or oil containers to cool before attempting to lift them

Tips to Avoid Strain Injuries in Restaurants

Sprain Injury Prevention Tips

  • Enforce a policy that makes slip-resistant shoes mandatory for all employees
  • Clean up spills immediately or place a wet floor sign over the area if the spill cannot be immediately cleaned
  • Use slip-resistant mats with beveled edges in wet areas

How to Prevent a Fracture in a Restaurant Kitchen

  • Practice ladder safety, including inspecting the ladder for damage before use and not overreaching when on the ladder
  • Prevent slips, trips and falls by keeping the floor clear of fallen objects, cleaning up reported spills, checking the pathway for obstructions and ensuring slip-resistant mats and rugs are placed throughout the restaurant
  • Properly store items with the largest, heaviest boxes at the bottom and lighter items on higher shelves and do not overload the shelves past their maximum weight capacity

AmTrust Helps Our Restaurant Insureds Protect Their Workers

Implementing various restaurant safety tips like the ones above can help reduce the frequency and severity of employees’ injuries. AmTrust’s Loss Control Department can identify specific hazards and offer solutions that fit your operation. Download a copy of the AmTrust 2022 Restaurant Risk Report for a more in-depth look at the latest workers’ compensation claims data for the restaurant industry.

AmTrust is an industry leader in workers’ compensation insurance for small to mid-sized businesses. Our coverage, combined with our comprehensive workplace safety training resources, can help protect restaurants from risk. For more information about our small business insurance solutions , please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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