Oklahoma chefs and kitchen employees have a disproportionately high incidence of workplace injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the foodservice industry claimed 97% of the job-related injuries reported in 2015.
The high-pressure and physically demanding nature of the job makes it easy for fast and proficient workers to feel suddenly rushed and out-of-control in a moment. That, combined with the characteristically hazardous commercial kitchen environment described by Employers.com, make injuries in foodservice seem almost expected.
Sharp blades and knives
Kitchen employees that do not have adequate training on food processing machinery like slicers, grinders and buffalo choppers risk critical cuts and lacerations. These injuries can also occur when they disassemble the equipment for cleaning. Employers should train workers on manual knife safety and provide protective gloves.
Open flames and hot surfaces
Gas ranges and salamander broilers are only a few examples of commercial appliances with open flames that can burn skin and set loose clothing on fire. Hurried employees also frequently suffer burns by trying to grab metal pans, trays and utensils after prolonged exposure to heat sources. Boiling pots and steamers can cause serious scalding if workers do not handle them carefully with protective tools and clothing.
Untidy walkways and wet floors
When dining rooms are full, line and prep cooks move as quickly as possible to prepare meals. They often leave items like empty boxes and dirty cookware on floors beside shelves and workstations, creating trip hazards. Skid-resistant rubber mats should cover wet floors near sinks, and any type of spill left unattended could potentially lead to a severe slip-and-fall-related injury.