16-year-old Hannah was excited for her first day on the job at a local coffee shop. She was looking forward to greater independence and more money to spend on shopping trips with her friends. Three hours into her first shift, she was operating a large coffee maker when it tipped over unexpectedly and spilled hot coffee onto her hands, arms and legs. She was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with extensive third-degree burns. She spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from her burns.
Dangerous first jobs
A teenager’s first job is often in some branch of food service or food preparation. Restaurant jobs expose young workers to a range of burn hazards, as all Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are aware. Teen workers also face an increased risk of burns and scalds in other industries. To avoid the danger of severe injury, new employees must learn about these hazards and how to avoid them.
Burn risks in the food service industry
The most widespread burn risks in the food service industry include all of the following:
- Deep frying
- Using machinery to prepare hot drinks
- Carrying heated plates
- Working at a stove or oven
- Microwaving food or drinks
- Reaching over or carrying lit candles
If proper precautions are not taken, these tasks can lead to serious burns.
Protecting teen workers from burns
Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers know that employers are required to train and inform young workers about burn safety. Some of the most important safety strategies include the use of personal protective devices (such as aprons, mitts, insulating cloths and hot pads), proper training on microwave and deep fryer use, safe use of coffee makers and extra caution around burning candles.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as many as 90 percent of commercial kitchen burns are preventable. If an employee suffers a burn on the job, it should be treated with appropriate first aid and reported to the employer at once.
Burns are tragically common in the American workplace
Many people will witness a serious burn injury in the workplace at some point in their careers. According to the American Burn Association, approximately 450,000 people each year are burned badly enough to require medical treatment. Many of these burn victims require months or years of medical treatment before they are able to return to the workplace.
Teen workers are safer on the job when they are aware of burn risks. Injured restaurant employees should consider speaking with Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers today.