Unless you’ve trained your entire life to become a chef, for most people, working in the lower rungs of the restaurant industry isn’t their dream job. Cashiering, line cooking, table bussing, serving – it’s something you do to pay the bills until you can either work your way up or work your way out. It’s a grueling vocation with long hours leaving you sore at the end of every shift.

Add to that the high turnover in staff, racing around to make complaining customers happy, pressure from management trying to turn a profit, and you have a bit of a powder keg brewing. All of this going on while trying to maintain a safe environment filled with sharp objects, slippery floors, hot surfaces, and chemicals. It sounds more like a high wire act at a circus, but working without much of a safety net. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers’ compensation injuries in service industries accounted for 2.8 million workplace injuries in 2018.

What are the common work related injuries in the food service industry?

From lifting heavy trays or objects, to reaching across tables, and possible workplace violence, there are myriad ways to become injured on the job in a restaurant setting. Some of these injuries can happen in an instant while others occur over time, but they’re all serious just the same.

  • Burn or scald injuries from touching a hot surface or being in range of spills and splatters of hot liquid
  • Exposure to hazardous chemical or toxins used for cleaning and sanitizing
  • Repetitive motion injuries such as strains, sprains and bulging discs
  • Slips and falls, which can also lead to traumatic brain injury if your head forcefully impacts a hard surface on the way down

Take the tragic incident that occurred at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Burlington, Massachusetts in early November of this year. A mishap with cleaning chemicals killed the store manager, and injured eight employees and two customers who experienced watery eyes and difficulty breathing. The deadly chemical reaction occurred when a product used to sanitize food preparation areas accidentally spilled to the floor where another chemical was being used for cleaning the tile surface.

If a restaurant is not designed properly, it can create unnecessary workplace hazards. Even something that seems as trivial as placement of a coffee station can result in serious burns. If the traffic flow around freshly brewing coffee pots is not accounted for, collisions with boiling hot liquid can cause second to third degree burns to employees.

As in every state, Alabama calculates an approximate dollar amount on loss of particular appendages or limbs. For example, the national average for losing an eye is estimated at $96,700, but in Alabama you would receive closer to $27,280. While several variables come into play in determining a settlement amount, as you can see, these figures are significantly below the national average. It is in your best interest to hire a highly qualified Alabama workers’ compensation attorney in the event that you become injured in your workplace to ensure that you receive the utmost protection available to you.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while at work, you need to speak with the proven Alabama workers’ compensation attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Don’t trust that your employer or its insurance company will act in your best interest. You need a knowledgeable attorney on your side who will fight for your rights under the law. We take pride in serving the citizens of the State of Alabama with offices located in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, and Montgomery for your convenience. To schedule your free case evaluation, reach out to us through our contact page or call 205-206-6300.