Protecting Injured Workers
And Their Families For The Short And Long Term

The many risks restaurant industry workers face

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Any restaurant’s kitchen, be it a fast food eatery or a fine dining establishment, will be the busiest part of the building. Depending on the number of customers a restaurant serves, things could get hectic in the kitchen.

Because so much is happening in these kitchens, they’re also hotspots for potential injuries. For those working in Minnesota’s food service industry, understanding how workers’ compensation can assist you in the event of an injury is crucial.

Common kitchen hazards

Kitchens are rife with occupational hazards. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Fire hazards: Open flames and high-heat cooking increase the risk of fires, which can cause burns and smoke inhalation.
  • Extreme temperatures: Walk-in freezers and ovens present extreme temperature environments, which can lead to thermal shock or burns.
  • Hot surfaces and liquids: Cooks and kitchen staff often work with boiling liquids and hot equipment, risking burns and scalds.
  • Sharp objects: Knives, slicers, and broken glassware are commonplace and can cause severe cuts or puncture wounds.
  • Slippery floors: Grease, food spillage, and hurried movements make slipping a significant risk, which can lead to falls and related injuries.
  • Heavy lifting: Moving supplies, pots, and bulk ingredients can strain muscles and lead to back injuries.
  • Repetitive motion: Tasks like chopping and assembly line work can result in repetitive strain injuries, such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Fortunately for restaurant workers, Minnesota law allows them to claim workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury, such as one caused by any of the hazards above.

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ comp provides various benefits, apart from coverage for your medical expenses. It can also cover lost wages for your time spent out of work and recovering, and even rehabilitation costs. If you suffered an accident in the kitchen that resulted in temporary or permanent disability, additional benefits may apply.

Filing a claim for a kitchen injury

Once you’ve suffered a workplace injury, you must first immediately seek medical treatment. You must then notify your employer as soon as possible. You might lose the right to benefits if you don’t report your injury in time.

You must then complete a claims form, which will be submitted to your employer’s insurer for review. The insurer will then notify you if it has accepted or denied your claim.

If the insurer accepts the claim, then it must start paying wage loss benefits within 14 days of the day you notified your employer of the injury.

However, if your claim was denied, it doesn’t mean there’s no chance you can claim compensation. A legal professional experienced in workers’ compensation matters may be able to review your case and advise you on the next steps to appeal the denial.

Restaurant kitchens may be dangerous workplaces, but workers’ comp can help injured employees recover, both medically and financially. However, the insurer must first approve the worker’s claim before it can pay any benefits.

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