The food preparation area of a restaurant gives young workers a chance to develop skills in culinary art, sanitation principles, and in the use of kitchen equipment. However, they may also be exposed to the following hazards:
This module will take a closer look at all of these hazards, plus some possible solutions to stay safe.
When moving parts have the potential for causing severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, machine guarding eliminates or controls these hazards. It also provides essential and required protection for the worker.
Young workers often help prepare foods for restaurants and are exposed to power-driven equipment such as commercial dough mixers, choppers, and slicers that may be hazardous if machine guarding is not in place.
Workers can be caught in the rotating blades of the mixer, resulting in strangulations, broken bones, and amputations. Cuts and amputation injuries can also occur when using or cleaning slicers and dicers.
Besides machine guarding, there are many other things you can do to protect yourself from power-driven equipment in restaurants:
Remember to follow the child labor laws that do not allow workers younger than 18 to operate, set up, adjust, clean, oil, or repair power-driven equipment, such as meat slicers or bakery mixers.
Make sure your employer labels equipment young workers are not allowed to operate. The DOL Youth Rules! website has downloadable stickers available to place on the hazardous machinery. The stickers alert all workers no one under 18 years of age may operate the equipment.
Young workers often help prepare foods for restaurants and are exposed to cuts while using sharp kitchen tools such as knives or cleavers.
Other sharp surfaces and equipment may also provide a cutting hazard for workers.
Here are some tips to help prevent cuts while using knives in a restaurant:
Employers should consider implementing the following safe work practices to keep employees safe:
Young employees can be exposed to potentially dangerous machinery in the kitchen, such as:
Before operating any types of kitchen equipment, you should do the following to protect yourself:
Let’s take a closer look at each of the common machines used in the kitchen.
If not careful, these machines can cause serious injuries. Here are some ways to protect yourself:
Food processors and mixers can also cause injuries if you are not careful. Here are some ways to protect yourself:
There are several things to remember about microwaves and your safety. Here are just a few:
Ergonomic injuries are fairly common in restaurants due to prolonged standing, reaching and lifting, and repetitive motions. Ergonomic controls can certainly help eliminate or limit exposure to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the restaurant setting. These repetitive movements can lead to strains and sprains.
Prolonged Standing: Repetitive or prolonged motions, such as reaching, lifting, and chopping while preparing food in food preparation areas can cause injuries. Static postures may happen as workers continually stand in one position while preparing food. This can cause muscle fatigue and pooling of blood in the lower extremities.
Reaching and Lifting: Repetitive extended reaches for supplies can lead to back and shoulder injuries. Here are a couple common muscle injuries due to reaching and lifting:
Repetitive Motions: Performing hand-intensive tasks, such as chopping, stirring and scooping, with a bent wrist can cause considerable stress on the wrist. Repetitive motions can lead to irritation and swelling and potential MSDs, such as:
Workers need to learn to lift properly and stay fit to help reduce the risk of injuries from lifting. Here are some other techniques to help prevent injuries:
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