Burn injuries are common among teen employees in restaurants. Young workers who work as fry cooks are at special risk for burn injuries. Factors such as inexperience and the pressure to "keep up" during busy periods can lead to potential accidents. Other hazards include exposure to:
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.
- Hot oil, grease, and steam from hot surfaces, hot food and beverages, and equipment such as stoves, grills, steamers, and fryers. Deep fat fryers are the number one cause of burns.
|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.
Follow all safety procedures and wear all protective equipment provided by your employer and be trained in the proper use of equipment, for example:
Proper length apron
Don't reach above ovens or steamers while removing food.
- Do wear long-sleeved cotton shirts and pants when cooking. A clean, dry, properly worn apron or uniform can protect you from burns and hot oil splashes.
- Do not cook without wearing protective clothing, even in hot temperatures or environments.
- Use appropriate hand protection when hands are exposed to hazards such as cuts, lacerations, and thermal burns. Use oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot items, and steel mesh or Kevlar gloves when cutting.
- Learn to use equipment and personal protective equipment properly and safely. For example, if cooking with steamers and pasta boilers:
- Use tongs and oven mitts to remove hot items from steamers or pasta boilers.
- Place hot steamed items on trays to carry, rather than carrying steamed containers across the floor, leaving a trail of dripping hot water that may cause slips and falls.
- Open ovens or steamers by standing to the side, keeping the door between you and the open steamer.
- Open the top steamer first when steamers are stacked, and then the lower one to prevent being burned from the rising steam.
- Do not stand above steaming items or equipment. Steam can burn.
- Do not reach above an oven or steamer. Hot air and steam rises and you could be burned.
- Do not open cookers and steam ovens when they are under pressure.
- Check hot foods on stoves or in the microwave carefully. Uncover a container of steaming materials by lifting the lid open away from your face.
- Place sealed cooking pouches in boiling water carefully to avoid splashing.
- Assume that pots, pot handles, and utensils in pots are hot and use oven mitts when handling them. Use long gloves for deep ovens.
- Adjust burner flames to cover only the bottom of the pan. Avoid overcrowding on range tops.
- Wear sturdy footwear that is slip resistant and not canvas or open-toed to protect the feet in case hot liquids are spilled on shoes.
- Ask for help when moving or carrying a heavy pot of hot liquid off the burner.
- Do not allow pot handles or cooking utensils to stick out from counters or stove fronts. Keep pot handles away from burners.
- Avoid overfilling pots and pans.
- Do not clean vents over grill areas if the grill is hot. Clean vents the next morning before turning on for the day.
- Do not use metal containers, foil, or utensils in a microwave oven.
- Do not pour or spill water or ice into oil, especially hot oil. It will cause splattering.
- Do not leave hot oil or grease unattended.
- Do not use a wet cloth to lift lids from hot pots.
- Do not lean over pots of boiling liquid.
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.
- Follow the child labor laws that do not permit workers younger than 16 to cook, except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, and cafeteria serving counters.
- Follow OSHA standards including:
- Assess tasks to identify potential worksite hazards and provide and ensure employee use of appropriate PPE. See the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standard [1910.132].
- Require employees to use appropriate hand protection when hands are exposed to hazards such as cuts, lacerations, and thermal burns. See the Hand Protection Standard [1910.138(a)].
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