Young Worker Safety in Restaurants
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Drive Through
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Drive Through Drive-thru

The Drive-thru area of a restaurant offers young workers an opportunity for direct interaction with the customer, while learning food service and money handling skills. Young workers in this area may also be exposed to the following hazards:

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Noise
Noise-induced hearing loss is 100-percent preventable. However, once acquired, hearing loss is permanent and irreversible.

Potential Hazard


Headsets
Restaurant workers may be exposed to noise, especially while working in the drive-thru area. Young workers often wear headsets to hear orders when working at drive-up windows. Young workers may potentially be exposed to loud headset background noise while wearing headsets.

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.
  • Fit headsets properly to your head.

  • Don't turn headset volumes up excessively high.

  • See your doctor if you are experiencing ringing in your ears or problems with hearing.

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.

Follow OSHA standards including:
  • OSHA's general industry standard for noise, 1910.95 Occupational Noise Exposure if applicable:
    • Implement feasible administrative and engineering controls whenever employee noise exposures exceed 85 dBA (eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) or a dose of 50%).
      • When this occurs, OSHA requires employers to notify employees, to establish and maintain a hearing test program, and to train workers how to prevent occupational hearing loss. 
Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:
Adjustable headset
Adjustable headset
  • Use acoustical limiting devices in your headsets. Headsets that use acoustical limiting devices are designed to provide sufficient protection to keep the noise level below the level required by OSHA. Headsets without limiting devices have, in some work environments, caused employee noise exposures to exceed the levels permitted by OSHA.

  • Use good quality microphones in your drive-thru to improve reception capabilities.

  • Ensure the headset fits the worker properly. Adjustable headsets work best. Ask if alternative ear pieces can be provided to fit different ear sizes.

  • Reduce individual employee exposure time to loud noises by rotating workers through the drive-thru area.

  • Have a safety and health program that recognizes and addresses the hazards created by workplace noise exposure.

Additional Resources


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