Work- related burns are one of the primary causes of occupational injuries in the restaurant industry. Burn injuries occur frequently everyday than most restaurant owners care to admit. Working in the restaurant industry comes with the inherent dangers of burns, not only are restaurant workers prone to accidents like this, customers eating in restaurants often times are victims of these injuries as well.

Customers eating in restaurants often fall victims of a hot spill over the counter by a waitress, hot soup burns a patron’s mouth or even the grease in a to-go bag melts onto a patron’s laps. Whatever form or degree of burns experienced by either the workers in a restaurant or the clients, burn injuries are quite frightening and dangerous; they should be prevented at all cost.

Apart from the most common form of injuries experienced in a restaurant; burns other forms of injuries can still pose a situation of danger to the workers and patrons in any restaurant. Some common forms of accidents include;

  • Slips and falls – This can occur from grease on the floor, tripping over an object or even slipping on a wet surface after mopping, this form of accident is very common for clients and employees in a restaurant to suffer from. Many serious burns occur in the restaurant industry when employees slip and try to steady themselves properly. Slips and falls account for about 18 percent of work related injuries in a restaurant.
  • Cuts and lacerations- Every restaurant kitchen contains sharp objects like knives, glass, slicers, choppers and other sharp objects that can pose dangers in the kitchen environment

Restaurant owners owe their workers and patrons a duty of care to ensure that they prevent the frequent occurrence of injuries like this in their work environment. They have a duty to provide safety measures for their employees as well as their patrons. In other to avoid the occurrence of any burn injuries by restaurant owners, it is important that they train their employees on the correct safety measures to keep them out of harm’s way. Prompt repairs should be made by restaurant to any damaged area in the kitchen or any other place in the restaurant.

Providing employees in a restaurant with educational materials even before employing them is an effective way to train them to identify hazards and highlight ways to perform their jobs efficiently while avoiding getting any injuries.

Managements of any restaurant are also enjoined to ensure that strict guidelines in the restaurant are followed to avoid mishaps. Safety measures should also be followed at all times, and workers should be attentive and observant to avoid occasioning injury to themselves and their patrons. Great communication and understanding between co-workers is also relevant in preventing burnt injuries.

There are some established preventive measures restaurant workers can adopt in other to avoid major burn injuries at their work place. Some of this measures include;

  • Wearing of protective gloves or mitts when handling hot pots or when cooking with hot, deep- frying oil.
  • Avoid reaching over or across hot surfaces and burners; make use of barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
  • Read and follow the proper instructions of any electrical appliance before making use of them in the kitchen.
  • Avoid carrying or moving oil containers when the oil is still hot or on fire
  • Wear non- skid shoes to prevent slipping on wet or greasy floors.
  • Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by placing a lid over the top of the container.
  • It is also important that the management should plan traffic patterns so that employees when carrying hot food don’t collide with each other.
  • Cook at manufacturers recommended temperatures. Don’t overheat the oil.
  • Ensure you place nonslip floor mats around fryers to reduce the chance of slipping and falling into the frying equipment.
  • Keep floors clear of debris and grease to avoid slipping.
  • Apply extreme care when handling foods that have been microwaved; they can reach temperature greater than boiling.
  • Keep first aid kits readily available to your employees.
  • Make sure at least one person on each shift has first-aid training.
  • Keep fire extinguishers at work place accessible and available at all times.
  • Ensure lids are tight-fitting and handles are securely attached to vessels that contain hot liquids.
  • Use proper cooking tools such as tongs, to prevent contact with hot surfaces and foods.
  • Avoid opening cookers and steam ovens when they are under pressure.
  • Turn hot pot handles away from burners and never leave handles sticking out over the edge of the range.
  • Do not leave hot oil or grease unattended for any period of time.

While it is not possible to entirely eradicate the occurrence of burn injuries in a workplace, adopting the aforementioned safety tips to minimize work-place accidents.

When burns occur in restaurants either to employees or patrons it is important to employ the appropriate first aid kits in other to relief the pain as much as you can. Burns are experienced in several degrees, and there are also several available ways to contain several degrees on burns experienced at restaurants while awaiting the help of medics. Some suggested ways include;

  1. Stop the burning process- As fast as you can it is important to stop the burning process. This may require removing the affected person from the area, dousing the flames with water, or smothering flames with a blanket.
  2. Cool the burn to help soothe the pain. It is advisable to hold the burned area under cool but not cold water until the pain eases. Alternatively, you can apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.
  3. Remove any clothing or jewelry near the burnt area of the skin, don’t try to remove anything that is stuck on the burnt skin as this may occasion more damage to the skin.
  4. Elevate burnt body parts above heart level.
  5. Cover affected areas with clean sheets or blankets.

Provided that the burns occasioned is not a major burn, you can apply the mentioned steps. When a major burn occurs, it is important to treat with the help of medical professionals.