Young Worker Safety in Restaurants
Cooling Vent - Heat Hazards Emergency Extinguisher - Fire Hazards
Circuit Breakers - Electrical Hazards
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

Heat Hazards
Exposures to high temperatures can result in health problems such as heat cramps, heat rashes, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Heat exhaustion: At high temperatures, the body circulates great amounts of blood to the skin in an effort to eliminate heat through perspiration. As a result, less blood is circulated to the body's vital organs, including the brain. Heat exhaustion can lead to dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and eventual collapse. If not treated promptly by lowering the person's body temperature, a person suffering from heat exhaustion could suffer brain damage.

  • Even more serious than heat exhaustion is heat stroke. During heat stroke, the body stops sweating, making it impossible to dissipate heat. The body temperature may rise to a dangerously high level in a short time and cause death.

Potential Hazard

Working in front of a hot oven
Working in front of a hot oven
Worker exposure to hot kitchen environments. Temperatures can reach 105 to 110 degrees while cooking in front of hot grills. Exposure to excessive heat may lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and possible death.
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.
  • Wear cool, comfortable, breathable clothing like cotton.

  • Tell your co-workers if you are not feeling well.

  • Recognize and be able to treat the early symptoms of heat illness.

  • Take a break from the hot environment to allow your body to cool down.

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages or beverages that contain caffeine while working in hot environments. These beverages make the body lose water and increase the risk of heat illnesses.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Observe any safety procedures or wear any protective equipment (such as gloves, mitts, protective aprons) provided for your use while working in hot environments.

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:

  • Keep cooking areas as cool as possible. Workers get even hotter and more stressed during rush periods in crowded restaurants.
    • Use spot cooling fans, evaporative cooling, air conditioning, general ventilation, and local exhaust ventilation at points of high heat production.
  • Encourage workers to drink plenty of water.

  • Acclimatize, or gradually introduce, employees to hot environments. This allows the body to build up a tolerance to high temperatures. This process usually takes about two weeks.

Excessive Heat Exposure - Symptoms and Treatment

Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, blurred vision, and nausea.

  • Treatment: You must lower the employee's body temperature to prevent the progression of symptoms.
    • Immediately remove employee from the hot environment and give cool water to drink.
    • Lay the person on his or her back and raise the legs. If the person is sick to his or her stomach, lay him or her on their side. If the person does not feel better in a few minutes, call for emergency help.

Heat stroke symptoms include severe headache, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, flushed face, and hot, dry, skin, with no sweating. If someone has stopped sweating, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

  • Treatment: Get emergency medical help. You must try to lower the employee's body temperature while waiting for medical help to arrive. Provide a cool environment, remove excessive clothing, and wet and fan the workers' skin.

Additional Information:

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