Fast food restaurants are a pretty usual first job. They offer short shift times, a fast-paced environment, and the chance to dive into a customer service position. But did you know that food service jobs are also high on the list for injuries and lost-time claims for young workers? Educating yourself about typical workplace hazards while can help you avoid slippery, situations (literally).

Slips Trips and Falls
A fast food joint operates at a high speed, and you might find yourself rushing around a kitchen, the dining area, or even to take the trash out. Unfortunately, there are several items to trip over, and many, many occasions you could slip.

What you can do:

  • Make sure any spilled food items or beverages ae cleaned up immediately, and use proper signage to warn coworkers of a potentially slippery floor. Watch out around food prep areas for buns, lettuce, grease, or any other food items that could send you sprawling.
  • If you see any items like brooms or mops blocking the path, move them to a safe area that is out of the way of main travel routes.
  • Wearing proper shoes that have good grips on the bottom should help prevent slips and falls as well.


Part of the charm of a fast food place is the tasty food, and to create those delicious meals, a deep friend and flat top cooking area are required! If you’re working around these appliances, take the proper precautions to avoid hot oil and wear protective clothing.

What you can do:

  • Be careful to not have any liquids near the fryer as oil reacts to water, ice, and other cool liquids.
  • Don’t overload the fry baskets, and use caution when putting them in, or taking them out of the fryer.
  • Be very careful if you have dispose of hot oil.
  • Use hot pads or gloves around the cooktop.


Strains and Sprains
You’re probably wondering how a strain or sprain would occur in a restaurant, but they’re actually quite common. Besides the slipping hazards, sprains and strains can be caused by improper lifting, reaching and repetitive movements (mopping, sweeping, washing, and even making burgers).

What you can do:

  • Take breaks regularly to stretch your arms, legs, neck, back, hands, wrists, etc., and sit down for a while if you need to.
  • Use proper lifting technique, don’t reach to pick things up or grab things from shelves, and always ask for help when needed.


Food, Air and Chemical Hazards
Working around any raw food can pose threats to your health, and to others’. Follow proper procedure for hand washing, and masking when needed.

What you can do:

  • If you are working in a customer-facing position, it is important to stay at home if you are unwell so you don’t spread sickness to your colleagues or customers.
  • Conversely, it is very easy to get sick when you are around so many different people all day. Wearing a mask and washing your hands are your best defenses against illness.
  • If you are doing the very important job of cleaning in a restaurant, you should be aware that the cleaning chemicals can be hazardous to your health. To combat accidents, educate yourself on the WHMIS symbols on the containers, and wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep yourself safe.


Dealing with the Public
Customers are regular people, which means they can be happy, and they can be not so happy. One of the psychological hazards of working with the public that people may not react well to certain situations, or they may simply be in a bad mood.

What you can do:

Customer service etiquette dictates that the “customer is always right”. It is, however not okay if you are being treated in a manner that makes you feel victimized or fearful. It is your employer’s/supervisor’s responsibility to protect you and your colleagues’ mental health on the job, so stand up for yourself when needed or appropriate, and speak with your boss if you are feeling down or stressed out by repeat incidents.


These are just some of the hazards you may come across in this specific industry. For more tips about workplace safety, contact us today!