When most of us think of dangerous jobs, ones that most likely come to mind are police officers, firefighters, construction workers, factory workers, and those in the military. Not many would classify working in the food industry as a job someone could get seriously hurt at. However, these workers endure not only low pay, few benefits, poor working conditions, and hard work, but also the risk that they could suffer serious injuries in their rush to serve the next customer. If this is not bad enough, they often must fight their employers to get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve—and desperately need to pay the weekly bills.

Common Ways Food Industry Accidents Happen

Workers in the food industry are employed in many settings like hospitals, schools, office buildings, catering businesses, restaurants, and fast-food establishments. Due to poor working conditions and the constant need to rush, employees can suffer injuries in the following types of accidents:

  • Lifting. Workers must lift heavy boxes of food or other food-related goods, trays filled with food, and stacks of dishes. In restaurants, workers also must move heavy tables and chairs to accommodate guests’ seating needs.
  • Reaching. Waitpersons and others who bus tables must reach across tables to serve patrons or to pick up plates, glasses, and silverware when cleaning tables.
  • Standing. Workers must often stand for eight hours or more with few breaks—often on hard surfaces that are unforgiving to their bodies.
  • Knives. Food preparation workers must chop and cut food at a fast pace, so cuts and serious lacerations are common. When knives are not kept sharp, workers must use more force to cut up food, making the repetitive motions even harder on their muscles and tendons.
  • Slip and falls. Employees can slip or trip and fall on water, food, oil, and trash left on floors, especially when they are rushing around. In commercial settings like schools and hospitals, floors can become slippery from the constant cleaning and waxing needed to maintain a clean environment.
  • Hot grease, oil, and faulty equipment. Workers can suffer serious burns and other injuries from hot grease and oil splatters—even more dangerous from deep fryers—or from faulty appliances and wiring.
  • Noise. Workers can be exposed to too much noise in loud restaurants, drive-through windows at fast food restaurants, and in commercial settings like schools.
  • Toxic exposure. Employees responsible for cleaning can be exposed to harmful cleaning, disinfectant, and maintenance chemicals.
  • Vehicle accidents. Workers who deliver food—either to customers or to the food service provider—can be injured in vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers.
  • Violence. Workers who handle cash—especially fast food cashiers or delivery drivers—risk being assaulted or worse if someone tries to rob them.

Injuries Food Industry Workers Suffer

Employees hurt in workplace accidents can suffer many serious injuries. Some of these include:

  • Burns
  • Strains, sprains, and bulging discs from repetitive motion injuries
  • Back, shoulder, and neck injuries from overexertion
  • Broken bones, other serious fractures, spinal injuries, and head injuries like concussions and traumatic brain injury in slip and fall accidents
  • Respiratory problems, eye and skin irritations, and more serious illnesses from toxic exposure
  • Cuts and serious lacerations
  • Hearing loss
  • Spinal injuries, fractures, internal organ damage, or head injuries caused in vehicle accidents
  • Gun shot or stabbing wounds if the employee is the victim of workplace violence

Sadly, many employees are afraid to take the time off work they need to heal for fear of losing their job or because they cannot afford to lose their wages. If you were injured in a workplace accident, do not let these fears stop you from getting the workers’ compensation benefits for your medical bills and lost wages you could be entitled to. Check out my Testimonials to learn how I have helped people like you fight for the benefits they deserve and then start an online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer