Working in the food service industry is a demanding and rewarding job. Countless amazing eateries, restaurants, pubs, and more can be found throughout the Sunshine State that takes pride in the food served and the work done.
However, as a restaurant worker, you are at risk for serious and even life-changing accidents and other issues that may require a work injury lawyer.
These incidents can range from minor cuts to more serious gashes or burns. Even falls can occur.
When you sustain an injury on the job, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most businesses in Florida are required to carry this insurance for these events.
If you are injured as a restaurant worker, our legal team at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. can help. We can review the facts of your case and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Learn more about some of the most common injuries restaurant workers are at risk for here.
Common Accidents and Injuries Experienced by Florida Restaurant Workers
Most restaurants have a large staff responsible for handling many jobs. No matter what type of food is served, kitchen work usually requires sauteing, chopping, cutting, baking, boiling, and cleaning. This type of work environment makes certain accidents possible, including the following:
- Lacerations and punctures: Because knives and cutting machines are frequently used, and glasses and dishes can become broken, many restaurant workers experience deep puncture wounds and cuts.
- Burns: These may occur from gas stovetops, fryers, boiling water, and more. Water burns and heat burns can be huge hazards to restaurant workers. The burns that are seen range from first- to third-degree in severity.
- Neck and back injuries: If items like large canned goods are stacked too high, they may fall on a worker, causing an injury to the neck, spinal cord, or head trauma. This type of injury can occur when required to engage in repetitive motion tasks, which are commonly seen in fast-food or large-scale establishments.
- Strains and sprains: If inventory or products are misplaced or on shelves that are hard to reach, it can result in a worker being injured because of overreaching. Workers may also slip and fall on liquid or other debris in the kitchen or floor. This can cause sprained ankles and other injuries. Restaurant workers may also experience strains when working heavy bags or boxes.
- Eye damage: The grease that splatters when grilling or frying can hit a restaurant worker’s face and get into their eyes. Also, toxic cleaning chemicals or solutions that are commonly used in the food service environment can cause blindness.
- Electrocutions: Sometimes, older diners or restaurants can have makeshift or faulty wiring for the appliances or worn or damaged electric cords. If standing water or spills gets near these issues, it may cause a worker to be electrocuted.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured while working in a restaurant. Some of the types of damages you can recover from this claim include medical costs and lost wages.
If the restaurant where you work is robbed and you are injured while the crime is being committed, your injuries may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
You must inform your employer about the incident within 45 days to protect your right to recover these benefits. Be sure to provide the information in writing.
Tips for Reducing Injuries and Lost Time at Work for Restaurant Workers
As you can see from the information above, injuries are common for restaurant workers. They can arise from many different issues. It is necessary to take steps to protect yourself and encourage your employer to implement the following safety tips, which can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and employees having to be away from work due to injuries.
Some tips to help reduce workplace injuries in restaurants include the following:
Keep Floors Dry and Clean
To ensure spills are properly cleaned up and handled, managers need to create a schedule outlining what procedures to follow. Be sure that the area around freezers and refrigerators remains dry and free from water and ice. The floors must be cleaned daily and checked frequently in high-traffic areas.
Install Non-Slip Rubber Mats
It is possible to reduce the risk of slips and falls by keeping the floors in a restaurant dry and clean. However, you should go another step and install non-slip or rubber mats around the areas where accidents are most likely. This includes things like beverage and prep stations, doorways, and sinks. These are all areas that are prone to accidents. Be sure to replace the mats regularly to help employees avoid tripping over the rolled corners.
Use the Proper Footwear
Employers should encourage their employees to wear non-slip footwear during their shifts. In many situations, this can help prevent slips and falls. While athletic shoes and sneakers may be made with rubber soles, this doesn’t mean they are slip-resistant. Be sure to choose footwear that is specially made for the restaurant environment.
Remove Clutter from High Traffic Areas
It is important to ensure that high-traffic areas in a restaurant are free from clutter and debris. This can help keep workers from tripping and falling.
Contact Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Help with Your Case
Unfortunately, accidents in restaurants are much more common than people realize. If you are involved in this type of incident, you may be unable to work for days, weeks, or longer. At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., our legal team can help you recover the benefits you deserve.
The first step in pursuing your claim is to contact our office for a free consultation.