For a young person looking for employment, there are a limited array of available options. One industry that reliably hires and employs young workers, however, is the restaurant industry. Young workers routinely take jobs in fast food, as bus boys or dishwashers, as waitresses and waiters or at other roles within all types of restaurants.
Unfortunately, OSHA indicates that young workers employed in restaurants are in a risky environment. Hazards exist in all aspects of the food service industry, including drive-thru work, clean-up, serving customers, cooking, delivery and food preparation. These hazards can become worse and much more dangerous if employers do not train their employees or do not follow proper safety precautions. Our Spartanburg workers’ compensation attorneys urge everyone to pay careful attention to what restaurants are doing. Young workers who work in these facilities, often for minimum wage, also need to understand some of the key risks that they face.
Restaurant Injuries and Young Workers
According to OSHA, potential hazards on the job site at restaurants may include:
- Strains and sprains as a result of lifting heavy trays, twisting out of place to reach items on high shelves or bending.
- Slips and falls as a result of wet floors or debris in walkways.
- Burn injuries and scalding injuries from serving or preparing hot foods.
- Respiratory or other health problems from breathing in car exhaust when working a drive-thru window.
- Cuts from using knives to prepare food.
- Electrical injuries such as from using dishwashers or other kitchen appliances in the preparation of food.
- Heat exhaustion from serving or delivering food outdoors.
- Frostbite or hypothermia from working in freezers, stocking or cold-storage areas.
- Repetitive stress injury from serving, standing for long periods of time or other movements that put stress on the joints and muscles.
- Workplace violence due to robberies.
These are just some of the many different types of workplace injuries that young workers in the restaurant industry are susceptible to experiencing. Restaurants are busy places with lots of customers and lots of potential hazards. It is essential that employees exercise care for their own safety when in the workplace, but it is even more important for employers to create a safe working environment and healthy conditions for all of their workers.
Keeping Kids Safe from Restaurant Workplace Injuries
It is imperative that employers follow all OSHA guidelines regarding work conditions and child labor to protect young workers. For example, workers under age 16 are generally limited from performing late-night work, especially during the school year. Workers under the age of 18 may also be prohibited from using certain type of restaurant and food-service equipment such as electronic meat slicers.
If a young worker does fall victim to a workplace accident, he or she should be sure to understand the legal rights available. Young workers, even those who are working part time, may be covered under state workers’ compensation laws and entitled to make a claim to have medical bills and disability costs covered.
If you have been injured at work in the Carolinas, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Pregnant Workers Risk Injury If Not Given Light Duty, Feb. 7, 2013, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog