For many people, cooking is something they enjoy. You may be among those who delight in preparing a meal for your family or using some creativity to turn a tried and true recipe into something uniquely your own. Of course, you know how to take precautions to avoid injuries in your home, such as handling your knife a certain way and cleaning up spills to avoid slipping. In fact, you may rarely hurt yourself in your own kitchen.
However, if you cook in a restaurant for a living, it's not the same as when you cook at home. For one thing, the pace is much faster at work. You may have people shouting orders, returning food from unhappy customers or racing around a crowded kitchen. If you suffer an injury on the job, it can be much more serious than an injury in your own kitchen.
Your safety at risk
When you work back of house in a restaurant, you are in a stressful environment. While you have a very small chance of suffering a catastrophic injury, many kitchen injuries can mean lost time from work. No work means no pay, and you likely can't afford that. Some of the most common injuries you may face in a restaurant kitchen include:
- Slipping or tripping: Falls may result in broken bones, head trauma or back injuries.
- Falling: If your job requires you to climb to reach supplies or tools, you are at risk of a devastating fall.
- Cuts: A knife wound can require stitches, lead to infection or even result in amputation.
- Strain and sprain injuries: Lifting heavy pots of water, boxes of supplies or trays of food can result in debilitating injuries.
- Scald injuries or burns: Working around fire, hot dishes and boiling water can place you at risk of excruciating burn injuries that may require extensive medical treatment.
You may find your risk of injury is higher if your California employer fails to provide you with the appropriate equipment to do your job well and safely. You may feel helpless to request a higher standard of equipment or better training for safety. You may also feel helpless if you need to obtain workers' compensation benefits after suffering a workplace injury. Speaking with an experienced attorney can provide you with information about your rights and an advocate to help you claim those rights.