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 and how preventing burns is not that difficult.

Common Ways To Get Burnt

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.

Preventing Burns

By not preventing burns to your employees you can end up with results of 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.

  • Identify
    • 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 food truck 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.

How are you preventing burns on your food truck? We’d love to hear from you. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below or via social media. Facebook | Twitter

2017-03-31T08:41:35+00:00 By |Culinary Lessons|

About the Author:

Richard is an architect by degree (Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan) who began his career in real estate development and architectural planning. In September of 2010 he created Mobile Cuisine Magazine to fill an information void he found when he began researching how to start a mobile hotdog cart in Chicago. Richard found that there was no central repository of mobile street food information anywhere on the internet, and with that, the idea for MCM was born.

One Comment

  1. Joel Oct 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Good Article.You sure you aren’t a risk manager?

    I see a lot of owners with workers comp insurance, think I am covered if an injury occurs… but as you point out the loss of morale, loss of income if you have to shut down or slow down while your staff is out, cost of hiring temp employee can be huge, and insurance cant cover those loses.

    I would also note it ALL starts with the owner/manager. Employees will follow your example.

    Below I provide a link to our loss prevention checklist that we send all our clients.


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