Whether you’re a career chef or a student doing a bit of washing up for beer money, you need to take care. Commercial kitchens are full of dangers that could leave you unable to work.
Here are some to be aware of:
Some restaurants keep burners lit for the whole shift, even when there is nothing on the stove. Touching the flame could cause a serious burn, as could touching a stove that has only recently been extinguished.
Hot foods and liquids are probably of greater concern, as they do not stay in the same place. If you tip over a stock pot, the scalding liquid could spill far.
All kitchens have knives, and most chefs keep theirs razor-sharp. While that is safer than a blunt knife in some ways, it makes it easier to get cut if washing them up. Sliced fingers will always be a risk for anyone using the knife, too, especially if they get distracted.
Many kitchens have machines with blades that can be even more dangerous than a knife as they turn at speed. For example, a blender, meat slicer or waste disposal machine could mangle your hand in a second.
Kitchens need to be kept clean, which means a lot of mopping and wet surfaces. Things also get spilled onto the floor. The nature of the kitchen makes any slip more hazardous than if you were in your average office.
There can be such pressure in a commercial kitchen that you feel afraid to ask for help if you get injured. While diners need to be fed, you need to look to protect your health. Getting workers’ compensation benefits could be key to that.