People who work in fast food establishments face some risks that aren’t present in other industries. The employers and employees alike should know what these hazards are so that they can take steps to minimize them in the restaurants.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 sets safety standards for employees. There are many ways that this act impacts these fast food workers. One of the primary issues in these businesses is that the workforce is typically young. Many workers are teenagers who might not have a good grasp on proper safety protocol. They might be irresponsible and unable to make decisions that mesh with the culture of safety that is necessary.
Food preparation and cooking hazards
When workers have to use slicers and other cutting equipment, safety has to be a priority. These workers can be cut, which might not seem serious but there is a chance that a finger can be amputated by these machines. For this reason, anyone who uses them must be properly trained and should be at least 18 years old. All guards must be in place when the equipment is in use.
Cooking is another hazardous aspect of working fast food. Hot grease and grills can all cause burns, which might be serious. Anyone working around them must be trained and should have safety gear in place.
Even cleaning the restaurant can be dangerous. All chemicals used in the food preparation area should be rated for food contact surfaces. There should be a material safety data sheet for any chemical that is used in the restaurant. Employees using them should review the MSDS to find out what safety precautions are needed. This might be that they need gloves or eye protection so they can avoid dermatitis or eye irritation.
Some other hazards include having to stand for long periods of time and having to lift, bend or reach while working. These can all lead to cumulative trauma injury, such as back strains, that can cause significant pain. Using antifatigue floor mats, moving around often, stretching and using proper lifting techniques can all help to prevent these injuries.
When a fast food worker is injured, they should remember that they are covered under workers’ compensation. They might be wary to get medical care because they think it will be costly and they may have to miss work. Since many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck, this can be devastating. The workers’ compensation program covers medical bills related to the work injury. It also covers partial wage replacement if the person has to remain off work for a long period of time.