Young Worker Safety in Restaurants
Cooling Vent - Heat Hazards Emergency Extinguisher - Fire Hazards
Circuit Breakers - Electrical
Oven - Burns
Cooks - Burns
Cook - Strains and Sprains
Wood-heated Oven - Burns
Deep Fat Fryer
Floor Mats - Slips/Trips/Falls
Open Stove - Burns
Fire Extinguisher - Fire Hazards

The Cooking area of a restaurant offers young workers an opportunity for developing cooking skills, while learning to handle equipment and organize tasks. Young workers in this area may also be exposed to the following hazards:

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Safety Poster

Deep Fat Fryers
Potential Hazard

Deep fat fryer
Deep fat fryer
Do not Remember: Child labor laws do not permit workers younger than 16 to cook, except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, and cafeteria serving counters.

Young workers who cook in restaurants are especially at risk of burn injuries while cooking with or cleaning deep fat fryers or vents above fryers. Burns can occur from contact with the fryer itself or from hot splashing oil, or when straining the oil or moving the fryer.

Workers may also be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning from malfunctioning exhaust systems on portable fryer units. Symptoms include headaches, confusion, nausea, and dizziness.

Possible Solutions

Young Worker Solutions
Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for following the safe work practices of their employers.
Non-slip shoe
Non-slip shoe

Class K Fire extinguisher
Class K Fire extinguisher
  • Use caution when working around hot oil.

  • Get trained in the proper use and maintenance of your deep fryer.

  • Observe all safety procedures and wear all protective equipment provided for your use while preparing hot items.

  • Use gloves and scrapers and other cleaning tools with handles provided by your employer.

  • Use the correct grease level and cooking temperatures for your deep fryer.

  • Keep stove surfaces clean to prevent grease flare-ups.

  • Avoid reaching over or climbing on top of fryers and other hot surfaces. Clean vents when oil is cool.

  • Keep floor surfaces clean and dry to prevent slipping or falling onto hot surfaces. Wear slip-resistant shoes. Floors should be cleaned often with grease-cutting solutions.

  • Do not work closely to hot fryers when the floor is wet.

  • Do not spill water or ice into oil. Do not store employee drinks by deep fryers. They could be easily bumped into the hot oil and cause a flare-up.

  • Do not overfill or pour excessive amounts of frozen fries into deep fryer at one time. Overfilling causes excessive splashing and bubbling over of hot oil.

  • Do not pour excess ice from fry packages into the fryer.

  • Do not overheat the oil; use only manufacturer's recommended cooking temperatures.

  • Do not move or strain hot oil containers; wait until the oil is cool!

  • Do not store oil on floors by grill area. Someone could slip and fall into the oil.

  • Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by using a class K fire extinguisher.

Employer Solutions
Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for following the safe work practices of their employers.
Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:
  • Consider replacing older deep fat fryer models with newer models that have exhaust vents in closer proximity to the fryer, built-in grease filters, improved grease-disposal systems, automatic food-lowering devices, and vat covers.

  • Use the appropriate quality oil for your fryer. Some employers have found that using higher quality oils reduces the amount of splashing during deep frying.

  • Install slip-resistant flooring near hot surfaces and cooking appliances.

  • Educate staff and management to recognize and respond to the symptoms of CO poisoning. For more information see:

Book For more information, see General Hazards Module - Slips/Trips/Falls.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

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