Common Restaurant Hazards

Matt Evans, Account Executive
The restaurant industry accounts for about 10% of employment in California which is roughly 1.7 million employees. This number is projected to grow another 10% by 2027. That kind of growth attracts attention, including attention from OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces safety standards and compliance in many industries including the restaurant industry.  Under OHSA, employers have the responsibility to provide a work environment that is free from recognized hazards that could cause serious physical harm or death to their employees. OSHA has the ability to inspect, fine, and even shutdown restaurants for non-compliance.

Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains can be caused by lifting heavy objects or boxes by one person without assistance. Strains can also be caused during food prep where there are prolonged motions such as reaching, lifting, and chopping. These potential injuries can be prevented with proper lifting technique and lifting with a coworker. If possible, employers should also provide foot rests at work stations to allow the workers the ability to shift their weight from one foot to the other.

Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls can occur when there is poor housekeeping, especially in the kitchen, with wet slippery floors close quarters. Working around ice bins, where ice can easily fall on the floor, can cause hazardous conditions including puddles. It is important to wipe up spills immediately and wear proper non-slip footwear.

Knives and Cuts
Workers are often exposed to cuts while using sharp knives, cleavers and slicing equipment. To reduce the potential for accidents, employees should cut away from the body, keeping the thumb out of the cutting line and store knives in knife holders, not in sinks or on countertops.

For more information, please reference the following document:
https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22303-11/Restaurant_Safety_English.pdf