Understanding the Most Common Occupational Injuries in Restaurants

Posted on: January 9, 2019 by RMS Hospitality

Any restaurant, no matter the type of cuisine or theme, can become a hotbed of activity within a moment’s notice. From lunch rushes to big dinner parties, the busier the restaurant, the more possible it is for an injury to occur. But even if things have come to a halt, there’s always room for an unwanted injury to happen.

Injured restaurant workers miss an average of 30 days of work, according to data from AmTrust Financial Services. The report from AmTrust also went on to paint a picture of how costly it is to restaurants, including noting that nearly $200 million was paid out in restaurant insurance claims. And while restaurant insurance is a must-have option for restaurant owners to protect against claims, there should also be an emphasis on overall employee health.

While workplace injuries may be common and may be old hat to seasoned chefs and cooks, there are steps kitchens can make to create a safer environment. Here are four common types of injuries in the kitchen and how to prevent them.

1. Cuts and Scrapes

Most chefs and cooks have suffered a quick cut or scrape from a blade while chopping parsley or slicing onions, but sometimes things can go a little further and produce a cut that’s even more serious in nature. And it’s not just knives that do the damage—think of things like food processors and blenders and graters. It should be the first rule of any kitchen to keep this in mind when training and hiring staff and make sure all sharp objects are returned to their proper place. Knives should never be left out on a countertop or in any way that they could fall on someone.

2. Burns

While cooking with a big flash of fire in the pan may look cool, it can come with a cost. Working around hot grills, bubbling grease and warm stoves can create a serious work hazard for all in the kitchen. Chefs and cooks and wait staff can all feel the heat when it comes time to work around kitchen appliances. Restaurants should always prioritize using caution and care, so just being more aware of just how dangerous it is to work around hot appliances and taking extra care will make a big difference.

3. Aches and Body Pains

It’s no secret that everyone in the restaurant spends a lot of time on their feet. In fact, it’s rare to ever see anyone sitting down on the job. This may aid in developing back pain, muscle soreness and aches all over the body. Plus, cooks and chefs also spend most of their time leaning over what their preparing and cooking, so things like spine strain and neck soreness are prevalent. The best way to alleviate this is to avoid standing in one place for too long. All restaurant staff should be encouraged to move around and take mini-breaks as often as they can; even a quick walk around the prep area and one-minute stretch will make a world of difference.

4. Tennis Elbow

Repetitive motions can seem harmless in the beginning, but when you add eight-hour days of doing the same things with the same muscles over and over it can create what’s called tennis elbow. There are a lot of chefs and cooks who are developing tennis elbow, much like other professions including baseball players and carpenters. Tendonitis, as it’s more commonly known, can settle in for veteran restaurant employees due to hours and hours of chopping, slicing, dicing and flipping. This can be avoided with stretching and taking small breaks, and anti-inflammatory medicines or vitamins, like fish oil, can help to ease swelling and pain.


About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: blog Restaurant Insurance

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