California’s workers’ compensation laws aren’t in place exclusively for construction and factory workers. Just about any employee is covered. Even secretaries and white collar management personnel get hurt on the job. They’re covered too. You might not realize it, but if you’re working in the food and beverage industry, it’s highly likely that you’re also covered by California’s workers’ compensation laws. In that industry, the most hazardous place on the premises is the kitchen.
Common Restaurant Kitchen Hazards and Injuries
Kitchens are often cramped quarters where people inside of them always seem to be moving quickly. Chefs and service personnel are under pressure to put out quality food on a timely basis. Whether you’re a chef, a waiter or waitress who makes countless trips in and out of the kitchen or even a dishwasher, there are potential hazards in any restaurant kitchen that can lead to severe injuries or even death. Ovens and burners are constantly hot, and whether employees are aware of it or not, food or liquids always seem to be on the floor. Here are some of the hazards that restaurant employees face when they’re in the kitchen:
- Falls on slippery floor surfaces and trips over objects that shouldn’t be in walkways.
- Cuts from knives or slicing machinery, graters or processors.
- Heat related-illnesses.
- Burns from stove burners, ovens, hot oils, steam or boiling water.
- Burns to the eyes and face from splashing grease.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome from hours of cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing.
- Other repetitive stress disorders involving the neck or back or even the feet.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover
Every employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. So long as you were performing the duties of your job, you’re still covered under California workers’ compensation laws, even if the accident was completely your fault. At a minimum, that insurance is going to cover your medical expenses, compensation for any temporary total disability and compensation for any permanent partial disability.
Report Injuries to Management
The laws involving work-related injuries and workers’ compensation are complicated. Injured workers are required to follow burdensome procedures in pursuing benefits. Sacramento has many terrific restaurants, but there are many times when restaurant workers are injured in kitchens, and they don’t report the accident. Many of those employees are simply afraid of retaliation by their employer. In the context of protecting your rights, it’s important that any injury be reported to management. A written report of the accident should be made, and immediate medical attention should be sought. After that, you’ll want to protect your rights by consulting with an experienced and effective lawyer.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney, Alice A. Strömbom, focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law and the rights of injured workers. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.