Many teens have their first experience in the workforce at a local restaurant. Restaurants are great learning grounds for dealing with customers and functioning in a hectic, high-pressure environment. While they may not pay a lot, the tips can make it worthwhile.
Restaurants also present a number of hazards. Managers need to be sure that all staff (even temporary summer workers) are trained properly to avoid these hazards. Managers and staff can and should also take steps to minimize potential dangers.
Let's look at four common types of restaurant injuries:
Burns and scalds: You know how the waitperson always warns you the plate is hot? They're dealing with these hot plates all the time. There's also a risk of oil or grease splashing out of pans in the kitchen. Wherever food is being cooked and served, there's the risk of serious burns.
Slips and falls: Spilled oil, drinks, food and other substances abound. These spills aren't just in the kitchen but all over the restaurant. Non-carpeted areas can be particularly treacherous.
Strains and sprains: Many people don't think of restaurant work as manual labor – until they've carried a large tray filled with dishes and glasses. This can take a toll on anyone after a while. So can reaching up on a high shelf for a heavy box of supplies.
Cuts, punctures and lacerations: Even if you're not among the kitchen staff slicing and dicing food, you can be around knives, blenders and other sharp equipment. Chipped plates and broken glasses with sharp edges can cause serious cuts as well.
Restaurant managers and employees can help reduce the risk of injury by doing simple things like cleaning up spills immediately, carefully throwing away broken dishes or glasses and taking care of areas where food is being prepared.
If your child is injured on the job at a restaurant, it's important to find out if the restaurant managers can and should have done something to prevent it. It may be important to establish liability if you're dealing with medical expenses or other costs or damages.