Recently, our Boston work injury attorneys took a look at OSHA’s explanation of dangers for young workers in the restaurant injury. Our previous article focused on the dangers that youth workers face when serving to customers and when doing clean up. However, there are also other risks that can cause injury to the many young employees who turn to the food service industry for their employment.
Today, we are taking a look at some of the other hazards that exist including the dangers that drive-thru workers face as well as the dangers to the young people who prepare and cook food.
Drive-Thru Dangers for Young Workers
Drive-thus are very common in the fast food industry and allow young workers to interact directly with customers. Some of the risks that these young workers face when manning the drive-thru include:
- Noise: Excessive noise can cause permanent hearing loss. To minimize the risk, it is important for employees to have a headset that fits properly and that has an appropriate volume level.
- Sprains and strains: Reaching, leaning and lifting can all strain the body and those doing drive-thru work routinely have to do the same repetitive motions over and over. To minimize the risk to workers at drive-thrus, workers should avoid reaching too far when serving food and avoid twisting when they are lifting. Employers must design the drive-thru window to minimize strain and should routinely rotate workers through drive-thru service to give the body a break.
- Workplace violence: Workers interact directly with customers who may want to do them harm or rob the restaurant. The danger can be minimized by using drop boxes to deliver food late at night. Employers should also follow child labor laws, including those prohibiting workers under 16 from working after 7 P.M. during the school year or after 9 P.M. during summer months.
- Standing for long periods of times: The back and legs can be strained and damaged due to standing for long periods of time at a drive-thru window. Wearing comfortable shoes can help and employers should provide a stool, foot rest bars and/or anti-fatigue mats.
- Exposure to car exhaust: Workers at drive thrus routinely inhale car exhaust which contains carbon monoxide and other chemicals. The drive-thru window should be kept closed as much as possible and employers need to make sure that adequate ventilation and a reverse-flow fan system minimize exposure to pollutants.
While drive-thrus are dangerous, cooking and preparing food also present risks to young workers. The risks include:
- Fire hazards
- Heat hazards
- Electrical hazards
- Machine guarding dangers
- Knives and cuts
- Dangerous kitchen equipment
In order to protect young workers from cooking dangers, employers must provide proper training and supervision. They must ensure that child labor laws are followed, including those prohibiting workers under 18 from operating, adjusting or cleaning power-driven equipment including bakery mixers and meat slicers. These and other OSHA guidelines on restaurant work and child labor can help to ensure that these risks do not lead to a workplace injury for younger restaurant workers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333.