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Restaurant & Food Service Safety

The Food Service Industry experiences the highest number of burns of any employment sector, about 12,000 each year. Cooks, food handlers, kitchen workers, and wait staff are all listed among the top 50 occupations at risk for on-the-job burn injury.

Did you know...

  • The majority of people hospitalized for workplace scald and contact burns are involved in food preparation.
  • Teenagers employed in fast food restaurants as fry cooks are at special risk for burn injuries. During busy periods, inexperience and the pressure of "keeping up" can result in burn injuries.
  • In Deep Frying, hot oil can reach temperatures of 300° to 500°F, making this task a potential high risk for burn injuries.

Burns usually occur when:

  • Work site management has not enforced safety rules
  • Workers ignore safety rules
  • Shortcuts are taken or workers are time-pressured
  • Persons become too familiar with their job and take unnecessary risks
  • Workers are ill, tired or compromised by drugs or alcohol and unable to concentrate.

Workplace burn injuries result from contact with:

  • Hot liquids and steam
  • Hot oil and grease
  • Hot substances such as food or sauces
  • Hot surfaces - stoves, grills, ovens
  • Fires from hot grease or oil
  • Exposed electrical wires or improperly maintained electrical appliances or equipment.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Wear protective gloves or mitts when handling hot pots or cooking with hot deep-frying oil.
  • Wear non-skid shoes to prevent slipping on wet or greasy tile floors.
  • Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by sliding a lid over the top of the container. · Never carry or move oil containers when the oil is hot or on fire.
  • Avoid reaching over or across hot surfaces and burners. Use barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
  • Read and follow directions for proper use of electrical appliances.


Burn injuries to workers can result in large losses of time and money, in addition to tremendous pain and suffering.

Management can help prevent burn injuries by increasing worker awareness and making burn safety a key part of job training.


  • tasks or jobs that are high risk
  • personnel who may be at higher risk
  • times of day when more injuries occur.

Provide warning labels in other languages for non-English speaking employees.

Use unambiguous warning labels and easy to understand pictorial warning labels for non-readers on all hazardous equipment.

In-depth investigation of burn injuries and "near misses" should be conducted promptly to identify contributing factors and to obtain acurate information about the events leading to the incident. Information from these investigations can increase awareness of hazards and provide data for safety training.

Every worker deserves a safe workplace. Unfortunately, injuries do occur by commission and omission. Increase employee awareness of the dangers through thorough orientation and ongoing safety training. Employers should involve employees in planning and conducting safety programs and training.

Hot Issue

 Fire and Burn Prevention, Seniors, Diane

Fire and Burn Prevention for Seniors

The Burn Foundation continues to present an exciting prevention program for senior adults.  The program uses an entertaining DVD and bingo game to teach seniors about safe cooking practices, burn first aid, smoking safety, scald prevention, and other aspects of home fire safety.  Thousands of seniors across the region have participated -  with very positive outcomes.  If you are interested in supporting, volunteering, or learning more about the Senior Program, call (215) 545-3816.

The Burn Foundation Fall, 2012 newsletter has been published!

Click here to download a copy. To request a copy by mail,
call us at (215) 545-3816 or