If you have worked as a chef for years, you probably accept your workplace conditions as standard. Yet, most people would be horrified if they knew the truth of what went on in restaurant kitchens. To any outsider, a busy kitchen is a series of accidents waiting to happen.
Various factors combine to increase the danger in kitchens.
While every workplace has hazards, it is how they combine that makes kitchens such a high risk environment. Here are some elements:
- Pressure: While many chefs love the pressure of a busy lunch service, it is what causes so many to burn out. In the short term, it can lead to people rushing or cutting corners to keep up. That can open the door for danger to creep in when trying to do things too fast or do two things at once.
- Long hours: When you are in the kitchen, you are often working flat out, for hours and hours, day after day. It will catch up on you eventually and dull your reactions. When everyone else in the room is in a similar situation, it can lead to accidents that would not happen if you felt fresh and well-rested.
- The tools of the trade: Kitchens are full of intense flames, scalding liquids, hot pans and sharp implements. Any of these could cause serious injury.
- Cramped spaces: Restaurant kitchens are often small for the number of people working in them and the amount of things happening. It can be easy to bump into someone or knock something over.
Kitchen accidents can leave you with injuries that prevent you from working. Your employer should hold workers’ compensation insurance to cover any medical costs and time off work you need.