Can’t Take the Heat: The Hazards of Working in a Commercial Kitchen

The food service industry is notoriously fast-paced. Anyone who has worked in large kitchens like those used for restaurants, catering, and hotels are well-aware of just how hectic and stressful it can be. Especially during peak hours, commercial kitchens are often a flurry of activity—stoves with open flames, knives slicing through vegetables, and people moving from one station to another to finish a dish.

When things get busy, accidents are bound to occur. And it’s clear that commercial kitchens are filled with materials that can easily cause a workplace injury. If the hazards of a kitchen aren’t properly mitigated with compliance to safety standards and protocols, the people working hard to create meals to serve huge crowds can become vulnerable to a host of different accidents.

The most common injuries that occur in commercial kitchens include burns from boiling water, hot oil, malfunctioning stoves, and other cooking surfaces with extremely high temperatures, cuts and lacerations from knives, meat slicers, and other sharp kitchen equipment, and slips and falls due to spills on the floor that weren’t properly attended. Many of these injuries can leave individuals out of the kitchen for several weeks at a time. In some cases, they might even lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.

Considering the very serious consequences caused by commercial kitchen hazards, it’s important for food industry employees to keep in mind that injuries caused by workplace accidents may entitle the victim to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In North Carolina, these benefits are made through weekly payments meant to cover the gamut of financial expenses caused by the employee’s injury. Most successful claimants are awarded 66 2/3 percent of their original weekly wages.

Filing a workers’ compensation claim can, however, be a difficult process. The appeals process can take a long time to fulfill. This is why many employees injured in workplace accidents are advised to retain the assistance of a qualified attorney.