Preventing Burns in Your Food Truck
Food truck employees experience a high number of burns compared to most employment sectors. Cooks and service window staff are listed among the top occupations at risk for on-the-job burn injury. On top of severely injuring yourself or one of your food truck staff members a burn can cause a loss in work time and could even lead to having to hire a new employee (to fill in) if a burn is bad enough.
This article will discuss the common ways that burns happen in both food trucks and the commercial kitchens you prepare your food in and how to prevent these injuries from happening.
Did you know…
- The majority of people hospitalized for workplace scald and contact burns are involved in food preparation.
- In deep frying, hot oil can reach temperatures of 300° to 500°F, making this task a potential high risk for burn injuries.
Burns usually occur when:
- Food truck management has not enforced safety rules
- Workers ignore safety rules
- Shortcuts are taken or workers are time-pressured
- Persons become too familiar with their job and take unnecessary risks
- Workers are ill, tired or compromised by drugs or alcohol and unable to concentrate.
Food truck burn injuries result from contact with:
- Hot liquids and steam
- Hot oil and grease
- Hot substances such as food or sauces
- Hot surfaces – stoves, grills, ovens
- Fires from hot grease or oil
- Exposed electrical wires or improperly maintained electrical appliances or equipment.
What can you do to protect yourself and your food truck staff?
- Wear protective gloves or mitts when handling hot pots or cooking with hot deep-frying oil.
- Wear non-skid shoes to prevent slipping on wet or greasy floors.
- Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by sliding a lid over the top of the container. · Never carry or move oil containers when the oil is hot or on fire.
- Avoid reaching over or across hot surfaces and burners. Use barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
- Read and follow directions for proper use of electrical appliances.
Burn injuries to workers can result in large losses of time and money, in addition to tremendous pain and suffering.
As a food truck truck owner, you can help prevent burn injuries by increasing your staff’s awareness and making burn safety a key part of job training.
- tasks or jobs that are high risk
- personnel who may be at higher risk
- times of day when more injuries occur.
Provide warning labels in other languages for non-English speaking employees.
Use unambiguous warning labels and easy to understand pictorial warning labels for non-readers on all hazardous equipment.
In-depth investigation of burn injuries and “near misses” should be conducted promptly to identify contributing factors and to obtain accurate information about the events leading to the incident. Information from these investigations can increase awareness of hazards and provide data for safety training.
Every worker deserves a safe workplace. Unfortunately, injuries do occur by commission and omission. Increase employee awareness of the dangers through thorough orientation and ongoing safety training. Food truck employers should involve employees in planning and conducting safety programs and training.