How Safe Are Fast Food Employees from Injuries, Threats, and Attacks?

How Safe Are Fast Food Employees from Injuries, Threats, and Attacks?

by / Friday, 13 May 2022 / Published in Workplace Woes
Burger and fries.

With the end of the school year just around the corner, many teens have summer jobs on their minds. And for many of those teens, that might mean filling out an application at a local fast food restaurant. While fast food is a very common place for teens to work, it’s very important to remember that restaurants of any kind can be risky places for people of all ages to work. 

Between things like grills in kitchens, hot oil used for cooking, sharp tools used for cutting food, and powerful cleaning products, there are many ways people can get hurt while working in a restaurant. And that’s not even getting into the safety hazards that come with employees needing to leave the restaurant to deliver orders. Working in a restaurant involves enough risks that the US Department of Labor has many very specific regulations about what teens can and cannot do as a fast food restaurant employee – or as an employee of any other type of restaurant. For example, the DOL prohibits teens under the age of 18 from driving to make time-sensitive deliveries (such as pizza deliveries) and restricts types of cooking duties for 14 and 15 year olds. 

But even with DOL restrictions in place, there are still many safety hazards that teens can face while working in a fast food environment. Just to name a few, OSHA cites exposure to car exhaust, high noise, and muscle sprains/strain as potential hazards of working at a drive-thru. There’s also the risk of experiencing violence on the job. 

Fast food restaurants are a popular target for robberies since they’re a type of business that consistently has cash on hand and is often open late at night. While there are restrictions on the times of day when teens are allowed to work, robberies can ultimately happen at any time of day. There’s also the risk of being assaulted by disgruntled customers, which is something that happens far more often than it ought to and is another event that can happen at any time of day. According to the National Employment Law Project, at least 721 incidents of violence at McDonald’s restaurants alone were covered by the media between April 15, 2016 and April 15, 2019. They also cite interviews with McDonald’s employees who listed ways their employer falls short on protecting them from violence on the job, including insufficient training, a lack of accessible panic buttons, and poor visibility, all of which can leave workers vulnerable. 

Contact a Michigan Workplace Lawyer

Employers have a responsibility to take steps to provide a working environment that is reasonably safe for their employees to work in. If you were injured on the job in any way, it’s important to consult a workplace injury lawyer. Even if it’s an injury or illness that developed over time, you may still be eligible for compensation.

At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a Michigan-based lawyer with experience handling workers compensation claims and helping people who were injured on the job. Contact us today for help with your case.

Image: Pexels / Engin Akyurt