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Safety in Eating and Drinking Establishments

Link to Spanish version.

Oklahoma has more than 5,000 eating and drinking establishments and employs over 147,500 workers. These workers have a high incidence of burn injuries. Below are descriptions of work-related burn injuries among workers in eating and drinking establishments.

  • A 13-year-old girl was helping at her parents’ restaurant. She tripped, slipped, and spilled hot grease on her body. She was hospitalized for 15 days with third degree burns over 10% of her body.
  • A 30-year-old male tried to catch the coffee maker as it was falling and was burned by hot coffee. He was hospitalized for five days with partial thickness burns over 5% of his body.
  • A 30-year-old male slipped on a piece of ice on the floor while working at a restaurant. His right foot hit the cord on the steamer, which fell on top of him. He received partial thickness burns over 13% of his body and spent 17 days in the hospital.
  • A 45-year-old female was working at a steak and barbecue house. She was pulling a pan of briskets out of the top oven when she slipped and fell, pouring hot liquid on herself. She was hospitalized for 58 days with partial thickness burns over 27% of her body.

Many teenagers work in the restaurant industry, particularly in fast food establishments, as their first jobs. Because of their lack of experience and training, teenage workers are at a higher risk for work injuries. Work-related injuries are costly for workers, employers, and state and federal governments, and they are preventable. Workers and employers should play major roles in reducing injuries at work.

Safety Recommendations

  • Ensure that worker receives workplace safety and first aid trainings before beginning work.
  • Keep working surfaces and floors uncluttered, clean, and dry. Clean up spills immediately.
  • Wear fitted cloth, appropriate apron, and sturdy non-slip, waterproof shoes.
  • Use dry, thick, well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when handling hot food.
  • Identify and report all hazards to a supervisor immediately.
  • If small first or second degree burn occurs, cool the area by running cool water over the burned area for 10 to 15 minutes and covering the burn with a clean, dry cloth or bandage. Do not use ice, ice water, butter, ointments, home remedies, or sprays on burns. Seek emergency medical treatment if necessary.

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised February 2009

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