Kitchen accidents – the facts

When you analyse the results of recent research carried out in both the US and Europe, it is easy to draw conclusions about the types of injuries most commonly sustained in commercial kitchens as well as the kind of workers who are usually affected. Close to 50% of all victims of kitchen accidents are employees under 25 years of age which demonstrates the fact that kitchen workers are often recruited straight out of school or are employed part-time around their studies. On top of the low wages they receive, it seems that they are also at greater risk of sustaining injuries.

621 serious injuries were reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences regulations 1995 in the year 2010-11. There were nearly 3,800 further injuries which were bad enough to keep employees away from the workplace for three days or more. That would suggest that around 13 people are injured every day in the UK whilst working in commercial kitchens – an alarming statistic. However, it is likely that this statistic does not paint a true picture of the scale of the problem in commercial kitchens. The HSE has suggested that around of half of all accidents in UK kitchens go unreported and as a result we are only getting 50% of the picture. If we were to double all of the figures we would be left with a shocking number of individuals suffering pain, distress and financial loss as a result of an injury sustained in a commercial kitchen. What is perhaps most difficult to accept is that many of these injuries are due to negligence on the part of employers.

Close to 50% of the kitchen worker injuries reported to the HSE related to the muscles, bones, ligaments or joints which reflects the high number of falls, trips, slips and handling accidents which take place in commercial kitchens every day. Half of this number is made up of injuries to the hand. Contact irritant dermatitis caused by activity in the workplace was the next commonest cause of workers taking 3 or more days of work and this is usually caused by inadequate hand protection and long periods spent in contact with wet things. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations dictate that having hands in contact with water or other liquid mixes for longer than 2 hours during a shift can be a dermatitis risk and should not be allowed.

Another major cause of injuries in kitchens is accidents involving knives. Knife injuries can be fairly minor with only small cuts suffered which can be recovered from fairly quickly. However, they can be extremely serious with fingers being severed and deep wounds being sustained in some cases. Commercial kitchens are of course full of knives and it is therefore crucial that employers take the time to properly train employees in how to use them safely and avoid injury.

Get in touch with our work accident solicitors for kitchen accident compensation claims advice

Commercial kitchens are highly dangerous environments and it is therefore crucial that your employer discharges their legal duty of care to protect employees from harm particularly vigilantly. If they fail to do so and you become injured as a result, we could help you claim compensation.

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