Common Types of Injuries in the Food Service Industry

Common Types of Injuries in the Food Service Industry

The food service industry is an important part of the U.S. economy. Statistics show that over 13 million Americans work at a restaurant or other food service establishment. From hosts and servers to chefs and managers, there are a myriad of professions available in the food service industry. Unfortunately, none of them are immune to physical injury. Restaurant workers can sustain injury just like all other workers. The following types of injuries, in fact, are particularly common in the food service industry.


Because restaurants cook food before serving it to patrons, workers in the food service industry often sustain burns. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), burns are one of the most common types of injuries in the food service industry. For every 100,000 workers, eight of them will suffer a burn. Food service workers should use caution around grease, grills and other hot surfaces to minimize their risk of being burned.

Slip and Falls

It should come as no surprise that slip and falls are a common type of injury in the food service industry. Restaurants and other food service establishments typically don't have carpeted floors. Rather, they have hardwood, vinyl or other "smooth" floors. While smooth floors are easier to clean than their carpeted counterparts, they raise the risk of slip-and-fall injuries. When water or liquid is spilled, a worker may accidentally slip on it.


Many food service workers suffer lacerations as well. Chefs must cut meats and vegetables during preparation. As a result, they are exposed to lacerations. A chef may accidentally cut his or her finger when preparing a steak, for instance, resulting in a laceration. Even bartenders are exposed to lacerations since they regularly chop lemons and limes to serve in drinks.

Hearing Loss

It may sound unusual, but food service workers are susceptible to hearing loss as well. Restaurants are typically noisy. They play loud music in the background of an equally noisy kitchen. For long-term food service workers, hearing loss may be a concern.


Food service workers have higher rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) than workers in other industries. Very rarely do food service workers get an opportunity to sit down. Regardless of their specific profession, most of them are on their feet most of the workday. All this standing and walking makes food service workers susceptible to MSDs, which can range from a sprained ankle to a slipped disc or pinched nerve.

Jun 9th 2020

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