Many of us eat at restaurants on a regular basis. Whether you dine in or take your food to go, it’s common to take a night off from cooking and let a restaurant do the work. However, what many people don’t understand is that restaurants can be very dangerous places to work.
Though they are not on par with construction or agricultural sites, restaurants pose a unique set of threats to the people who work in them. Unfortunately, there aren’t many resources for individuals who get hurt in these positions. Many times, management expects employees to continue working, even when they’re suffering from an injury or illness that should warrant rest.
Whether you are a restaurant patron or employee, you need to understand the common accidents and threats that are present in the food and beverage industry. The individuals in these roles are in danger every day, and some even risk their lives when they go to work.
Common Restaurant Accidents in Cathedral City, California
Just as with any industry, there are certain accidents that occur more frequently than others in the restaurant world. Despite safety measures, there are inherent risks in this line of work that often lead to accidents. Though the accidents may vary based on the setup and style of the restaurant, some common examples of hazards include:
Wet floors that lead to slips
Walkway obstruction that leads to trips
Long hours and limited breaks
Dangerous equipment, including knives, blenders, fryers, etc.
These hazards all pose a risk to the employees who work around them. Employers are legally required to provide safety equipment and properly train staff on safety procedures, but the execution of these measures is imperfect. Many restaurant employees do not have the proper tools to protect themselves at work.
Many restaurant workers are expected to work long hours without a proper break. While some establishments provide food and break coverage, others do not. A simple dinner shift can last for nearly 6 hours from beginning to end, during which time servers, cooks, and support staff rarely get a moment to rest.
It’s also worth noting that restaurants have a higher concentration of public traffic than many other industries. While a warehouse or office building only houses the employees of a company, a restaurant hosts people from all walks of life. The public is not trained on safety measures as employees are, meaning that patrons can easily cause accidents without understanding the risks of what they are doing.
Common Restaurant Injuries
These hazards and accidents lead to many different types of injuries. However, some injuries are incredibly common in the restaurant industry. They include:
These injuries can range from mild to incredibly serious. For example, a burn may be minor and heal within a few days. However, oil can also cause third-degree burns that cause lasting pain and disfigurement. The people who are around oil every day have a higher chance of suffering lasting consequences.
Fortunately, California has a workers’ compensation system that aims to protect both workers and employers in the case of an accident. The law requires that all businesses have workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of the size of the business. There are very few exceptions to this law, which means most restaurant workers should be protected by this system.
Under workers’ compensation, employers pay a monthly premium to the insurance company. In exchange, the insurance company provides financial support if anything should happen. Neither the employee nor the employer should be responsible for paying medical bills if an accident occurs.
This applies no matter what the employee is doing at the time of the incident. For example, if a server is walking to the break room for a drink of water and they slip and fall, workers’ compensation should cover the incident. This is because the worker was within the scope of their job duties when they were injured.
There are a few exceptions to this. Workers’ compensation is not liable if:
The worker was roughhousing or fooling around when the accident occurred.
The worker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the incident occurred.
The worker caused the incident on purpose.
In almost every other situation, workers’ compensation should cover the resulting damages.
Restaurant Injuries and Personal Injury
Employees cannot sue their employers under the workers’ compensation system. However, there may still be an opportunity for further compensation, depending on the situation. A personal injury claim can be made if the accident was caused by a third party’s negligence. The injured party has the option to press charges against the third party for their hubris.
For example, let’s say a server is walking with a tray of plates, and a cook decides to jump out and scare the server as a prank. When the cook jumps out, the server becomes startled, drops the tray, and cuts himself on the broken glass. The server would have the right to seek workers’ compensation as well as create a personal injury claim against the cook for acting irresponsibly.
Getting Legal Help
If you are injured while working in a restaurant, it’s a good idea to seek legal help right away. Though the workers’ compensation is set up to help you, the insurance companies may try to pin blame on you for the incident to get out of paying. Even if this isn’t the case, the process to receive your workers’ compensation may be confusing and complicated, and it’s helpful to have a professional on your side.
If you are in a position to create a personal injury case, legal help becomes absolutely necessary. There is little hope of winning a personal injury settlement without an experienced attorney on your side. It’s important to allow yourself time to heal by hiring an attorney to handle the legal side of things.