Young Worker Safety in Restaurants » Delivery/Storage

Restaurant delivery area

Delivery/Storage

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:

 

 

Potential Hazards

Freezer

The do not symbol  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
Freezer

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.

Decorative book  For more information, see .

 

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.

Potential Hazards

Hand Cart

Delivery locations are typically located in outdoor areas that are subject to extreme seasonal weather and temperatures.

The following conditions can occur if a worker is exposed to hot temperatures:

  • Heat exhaustion can result in headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, mood changes, feeling sick to your stomach, pale clammy skin, vomiting, and fainting.

  • Heat stroke leads to dry, pale skin, mood changes, seizure, collapse, and possible death.

The following conditions can occur if a worker is exposed to cold temperatures:

  • Frostbite is the freezing of deep skin tissue layers and leads to hardening and numbing of the skin. It usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears, and nose.

  • Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature falls below 95 degrees F. The person becomes tired and drowsy, begins to shiver uncontrollably, moves clumsily, and is irritable and confused. As the hypothermia progresses, the victim's speech becomes slurred, his or her behavior may become irrational, and unconsciousness and full heart failure can occur.

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 warm clothes, gloves, and a hat if working in cold temperatures
  • Seek medical help for cold- and heat-related stresses.
    • Lower the employee's body temperature in heat-related conditions and raise the employee's body temperature in cold-related conditions to prevent the progression of symptoms.

  • Schedule deliveries during appropriate times of the day (for example, at cooler times during hot summer-like weather).

  • Perform work during either the cooler or warmer times of the day.

  • Use the "buddy" system (work in pairs).

  • Drink plenty of cool water in warm, hot weather.

  • Drink warm beverages in cold weather.

  • Wear appropriate clothing (hat and light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing in warm, hot weather OR warm, layered clothing in cold weather, including hat and gloves). In cold weather, pay special attention to protecting feet, hands, face, and head. Up to 40 percent of body heat can be lost when the head is exposed.

  • Apply sunscreen on sunny days.

  • Take frequent, short breaks indoors to cool off or warm up.

  • Avoid exhaustion or overworking, because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.

  • Educate employees to recognize and seek medical help for workers that have symptoms of cold-and-heat related stresses.

Decorative book  For more information on heat hazards, see Cooking - Heat Hazards

 

Additional Resources

Potential Hazard

Storage Shelves

The do not symbol  Remember: Child labor laws do not permit workers younger than 18 to operate forklifts or workers younger than 16 to load or unload goods on or off trucks, railcars, or conveyors.

Workers can injure themselves from slips, trips, or falls, while loading or unloading supplies in the delivery area or storage area, or in the parking lot. Variable weather conditions add to the potential hazards.

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.

  • Be aware of outside conditions if unloading outside; wear sun protection if sunny, and coats, gloves, boots if wet or cold.

  • Wear appropriate non-slip footwear.

  • Keep walking surfaces free of ice and snow.

  • Carry items only at a height over which you can safely see.

  • Use no-skid waxes and surfaces coated with grit to create non-slip surfaces in slippery areas.

  • Eliminate cluttered or obstructed hallways or walkways.

  • Do not block hallways with delivery items.

  • Use proper .

 

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:

  • The Walking/Working Surfaces Standard [1910.22(a)(1)]: Keep all places of employment clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.
    • Keep floors clean and dry [1910.22(a)(2)].
    • Keep aisles and passageways clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard [1910.22(a)].

  • Keep exits free from obstruction. Access to exits must remain clear of obstructions at all times [1910.37(a)(3)].

Follow the child labor laws that do not permit workers

Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:

  • Provide floor plugs or ceiling plugs for equipment so power cords need not run across pathways.

  • Re-lay or stretch carpets that bulge or have become bunched to prevent tripping hazards.

  • Provide adequate lighting.

Decorative book  For more information, see General Hazards - Slips/Trips/Falls.

 

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.

Potential Hazard

Twisting while lifting

The do not symbol Remember: Child labor laws do not permit workers younger than 18 to operate forklifts or workers younger than 16 to load or unload goods on or off trucks, railcars, or conveyors.

Workers can injure themselves during reaching and lifting of heavy loads while unloading and stacking supplies for restaurants. The risk of injury increase if done in awkward postures.

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.

Shelves of stacked materials
  • Stack heavier items on lower shelves.

  • Store lighter goods on the top shelves.

  • Stack items used most frequently at a convenient waist level.

  • Get help lifting heavy items.

  • Hand cart

    Use a stool or ladder to access items on shelves. Do not stand on chairs or boxes that might tip over.

  • Lighten the load to be lifted by encouraging employer to purchase smaller and therefore lighter cartons of stock.
    • A palletizer on a pallet jack lifts the load to a convenient level

      Use proper lifting techniques when performing manual lifts to minimize the risk to the back. However, a heavy load (35 pounds or more for young workers) can cause injury even with perfect technique. Do not manually lift heavy loads alone; get help.

  • Use handrails if traveling on stairs, avoid undue speed, and carry only items that you can safely see over.
    • Limit lifting by hand. Use hand carts when moving products. Have employees 18 or older use any available mechanical equipment such as lift assist devices, forklifts, and pallet jacks to help with lifting and transporting products.

Use proper lifting techniques. Learn to lift properly and stay fit to help reduce the risk of injury from lifting.

  • Before lifting, size up the load:
    • Wear gloves to prevent exposure to nails and slivers.
    • Use a hand cart if possible.
    • Get help with heavy loads.
    • See that the load is balanced and stable.
    • Do not lift a load that is too heavy, slippery, hot, or unevenly balanced.
    • Make sure you have a clear traveling path.

  • Lift with your legs
    Don't lift with your back
    Lifting:
    • Bring the load as close to you as possible before lifting. Avoid reaching across something to lift a load. This moves the load away from the body and increases your chance of injury.
    • Lift with your legs, not your back.
    • Keep your head up, your back straight, and bend at your hips.
    • Shift your feet to turn; don't twist your body.
    • Keep the load directly in front of your body. Avoid reaching to the side and lifting while twisting.
    • Perform lifts at waist height, with the elbows in close to the body.
    • Avoid awkward postures while lifting such as reaching and twisting, or lateral or side bending.

  • Avoid lifting while twisting
    Lowering:
    • Remember that body position when setting the load down is just as important as when picking the load up. Use your leg muscles to comfortably lower the load by bending your knees.
    • Make certain that your fingers and toes are clear before setting the load down.

 

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 the child labor laws that do not permit workers:

Decorative book  For more information, see Resources - Child Labor Laws.

 

Additional Resources

  • Work Practice. OSHA's Grocery Warehousing eTool. Bad habits to avoid while lifting or transferring products.

  • Ergonomics. OSHA Saftey and Health Topics Page.