Cooking Oil Related Injuries and How to Avoid Them
Avoid the “Big 4” Injuries
Each year, restaurants across the country suffer the ramifications of employees who sustain injuries. There are four common culprits (commonly called the “Big 4”) when it comes to restaurant related injuries – Falls, cuts, burns and lifting injuries. Coming in contact with cooking oil covers them all.
Slips and Falls
Each time kitchen staff comes in contact with cooking oil, there is the chance for spills to occur on the floor. Oil can splatter onto the floor during the cooking process or it can drip onto the floor as an employee removes it from the kitchen. Each incident creates a slippery floor surface that increases the potential for a slip and fall injury. A quarter-sized drip can cause as much damage as walking across an icy driveway in winter.
As employees engage in the cooking process, cooking oil can splatter onto nearby cutting utensils. A chef will focus most of the immediate attention on the food item instead of the cutting utensil. A quick grab of a knife or other utensil that has oil on the handle is all it takes for that utensil to slip out of a hand and cut the skin.
Cooking oil is the number one cause of burns that happen in restaurant kitchens. As it begins to heat up in the pan, the oil will splatter and land on outside surfaces. Sometimes that outside surface is someone’s skin. When it comes into contact with skin, severe burns and scalding occurs because unlike touching a hot surface, hot cooking oil rests on the skin and continues to burn well after initial contact. Additionally, because of oil’s inherent resistance to water, when not properly treated, it can settle under the damaged skin and cause sometimes serious infections.
Containers of cooking oil are heavy. Each time a kitchen employee lifts a container to replenish the oil supply, there is the potential for a lifting injury. Heavy lifting also becomes an issue as an employee lifts grease trap containers into the disposal area or works to clean out a grease trap when grease begins to build-up. When workers fail to use proper lifting techniques, injuries occur.
Restaurants can put procedures in place that work to reduce these types of injuries from happening. Kitchen staff can wear non-skid footwear and use cutting utensils with non-slip handles. They can wear protective gear or use utensil guards to prevent splatters of grease coming into contact with the skin.
The best course of action a restaurant can take to prevent cooking oil injuries is to use a third party service that handles all aspects of cooking oil installation and removal on their behalf. It works to reduce the risk of losing time, money and staff members to cooking oil injuries. Why take an unnecessary risk if options exist to mitigate or eliminate that risk?
Contact us today and find out how we can reduce your risk to zero. We’ll show you, not tell you, how we can eliminate cooking oil-related injuries in your kitchen today!