Restaurants are an important part of the American economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of every 10 U.S. workers is involved in some aspect of the food service industry. A restaurant career can be rewarding and fast-paced. Personal injury lawyers in Chicago know that it can also lead to serious accidents. Scald burns are common in restaurants, often leading to disfigurement or disability.
What is a scald burn and how does it occur?
A scald burn occurs when the human body contacts hot liquid or hot steam. Liquids at a temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit can scald in just one second. Hot beverages served in restaurants are often much hotter than 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Simmering or boiling water will cause instant scald burns if it touches the skin.
Consequences of scalds on the job
Scald burns can cause extensive tissue damage. Death of skin cells may lead to extensive scarring. Hot liquids can damage the eyes or cause permanent blindness. Oil burns are often the most severe because the oil clings to the skin. According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, 49 percent of restaurant workers hospitalized with scald burns in recent years came into contact with hot oil.
Avoiding scald burn hazards
Many scald burn incidents in professional kitchens are avoidable. Workers should follow these safety rules to decrease the risk of severe burns:
- Use extreme caution when operating or cleaning deep frying equipment.
- Never carry full containers of hot liquids.
- Maintain pressure cookers properly to avoid explosions.
- Be aware of scalding steam from microwave containers, especially after removing plastic film or other coverings.
- Do not lift heavy pots, pans or other pieces of equipment unassisted.
- Keep floors clean and dry to avoid slip and fall hazards, especially during busy periods in the kitchen.
Kitchen workers can cut the risk of accidents by paying attention to basic safety procedures, as personal injury lawyers in Chicago are aware.
Workers’ compensation for scalds
Employees who have suffered severe burns on the job may be eligible for workers’ compensation in Illinois. It is crucial to seek prompt medical treatment and document all details of the accident. Even if a worker is totally or partially at fault, it may still be possible to obtain compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.
Professional kitchens are exciting and sometimes dangerous places. Disabled restaurant employees should speak with personal injury lawyers in Chicago about their options.