Young Worker Safety in Restaurants
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rollover image 2 Delivery Worker - Strains and Sprains / Freezers rollover image 4 image spacer 2
Delivery Worker -  - Slips/Trips/Falls / Heat and Cold Exposure rollover image 6 image spacer 3
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The Delivery area of a restaurant offers young workers an opportunity for developing skills in communication, material handling, and inventory control. Young workers in this area may also be exposed to the following hazards: 
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Safety Poster
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Potential Hazard

No Operators under 18 years old  Remember: Child labor laws do not permit workers younger than 16 to perform freezer or meat cooler work.

Young workers may be exposed to cold temperatures from working in refrigerator or freezer delivery storage areas.

  • Staff can be trapped inside refrigerators or freezers if the door accidentally closes behind them. Trapped workers can be exposed to very cold temperatures and suffer from hypothermia.

  • Condensation inside refrigerators or freezers can cause floors to become wet and slippery, leading to potential slips and falls.

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. 
  • Check cold storage areas periodically and at closing time to make sure no one is trapped inside.

  • Wear warm clothing when entering or spending time in a cold-storage area.

  • Wear personal protective equipment for unpacking and sorting meat and other food products in freezers (such as hats, gloves, and rubber-soled non-slip shoes).

  • Keep floors free from slip hazards like spills or clutter, use non- slip matting for potentially slippery surfaces.

Employer Solutions
Follow OSHA Standards including:
  • Provide a panic bar or other means of exit on the inside of  walk-in freezers to prevent trapping workers inside. Maintenance, Safeguards, and Operational Features for Exit Routes Standard [1910.37].
    • Provide a means of egress for all walk-in storage areas (especially refrigerators or freezers).

  • Assess tasks to identify potential worksite hazards and provide and ensure employee use of appropriate personal protective equipment. Personal Protective Equipment Standard [1910.132].

  • Keep places of employment clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition. Walking/Working Surfaces Standard [1910.22(a)(1)].
  • Follow child labor laws that do not permit workers younger than 16 to perform freezer or meat cooler work.
Book For more information, see Delivery - Heat and Cold Exposure.

Additional Resources:
  • 1910.22, General requirements (Walking/working surfaces). OSHA Standard.

  • Small Business Handbook. OSHA Publication 2209, (2005). Helps small business employers meet the legal requirements imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act), and achieve an in-compliance status before an OSHA inspection.
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