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Restaurant Kitchen Staff Face Lower Wages, Higher Risks for Accidents and Injuries

Posted on in Personal Injury

workplace accidents, workplace injuries, San Jose injury attorneys, food service workers, soft tissue injuriesWorkers of all ages can find steady employment and make successful careers out of working in the food service industry. Particularly in the summer months, neighborhood restaurants and fast food places often increase hiring among kitchen and other back-of-the-house workers to keep up with consumer demands. While this can allow you the opportunity to pick up some extra income, there are issues with these jobs of which you need to be aware.

While a recently passed law now allows kitchen workers to supplement otherwise lower wages with pooled tips, they still face a higher risk for workplace accidents and injuries.

Kitchen Workers Approved for Tip Pooling in California

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that cooks and other kitchen workers make more per hour than servers, bartenders, and bus people; however, this does not account for tips provided by customers. Traditionally, back-of-the-house staff could be excluded from tipping pools, but recent changes now hold promise in allowing these workers to directly benefit from the positive experiences of customers and the financial incentive tipping provides.

California recently made changes in the laws regulating restaurants workers, which now allow kitchen staff to share in the customer tips that servers and bartenders in their field have long enjoyed. According to an April 2018 Mercury News report, the new law overruled older guidelines which allowed for tips to be pooled and collected among front-of-the-house workers, while not including kitchen staff. This only seems fair, as back-of-the-house workers are not only responsible for food quality, but also accept the lion’s share of risk when it comes to on-the-job accidents and injuries.

Injury Risks Kitchen Workers Face

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food service workers in general face a higher risk of accidents and injuries than those in other occupations. Among these workers, grill cooks, sous chefs, deep fryer operators, and other kitchen staff are most at risk. Common types of accidents and injuries back-of-the-house workers are likely to face include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls due to wet floors and spills;
  • Serious lacerations and amputations due to sharp knives and cutting machines;
  • Severe burns due to contact with hot surfaces and substances;
  • Soft tissue injuries, due to constant bending, stretching, and lifting;
  • Heat-related disorders, which can be potentially life threatening; and
  • Occupational injuries caused by stress due to constant job pressure, long shifts, and a lack of breaks.

When these types of on the job injuries occur, employers may be responsible. Kitchen staff may be entitled to benefits through the CA Division of Workers’ Compensation, or they may be entitled to damages in a personal injury claim.

We Can Help You Today

When injuries occur at home, at work, or while engaged in other activities, our skilled San Jose injury attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you need to recover. Call or contact Jachimowicz Law Group online and request a consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_722500.htm

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-105/pdfs/2012-105.pdf

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/16/restaurant-kitchen-staff-can-share-in-the-tips-under-new-law/

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