October 25

Top Five Most Common Restaurant Work Injuries


Here Are the Top Five Most Common Restaurant Work Injuries To Be Aware of and Try To Avoid

Restaurant workers are trained to stay sharp under the constant pressure of a relentless clock (and clientele).

It’s not easy work and is more akin to a sport than most other careers. While many can do it successfully night after night, slipping up during a rush or under stress is common. Even the best get in accidents here and there.

Whether the new kid forgot to yell about a “CORNER!” coming around with a big tray of glasses, or you’re calling for service because food is dying in the window and you accidentally cut yourself. Shit happens.

Here are the five most common restaurant work injuries. The more mindful you are of these, the less likely you’ll run into them! And to help you remember, we’re giving away five of our very own Poached Restaurant Woes Graphic Sweatshirts, as seen below:

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Make sure to follow us on Instagram to learn more about entering the giveaway!

Top 5 Restaurant Work Injuries

1. Cuts and Punctures

Many things in the restaurant will cut you, from knives to mandolins to peelers. If I could count the number of times I’ve accidentally nicked myself from picking up broken glass — I’d be a genius.

If you find yourself, which you will, dealing with a cut or puncture—you first want to evaluate the severity. If it’s bad, seek medical attention. If it’s small, then make sure to wash the injury thoroughly and bandage up. Most cuts occur on fingers and hands, so you’ll want to put on a finger condom or a plastic glove.

2. Burns

Burns are also ubiquitous. Whether you’re working in the kitchen handling hot skillets or a hungry server shoving a misfire in your mouth before realizing that shit is hot, you’re likely to get a burn at some point in your hospitality career.

Again, if you get a burn, you want to review the severity and seek medical attention if it’s nasty. Otherwise, you can run cold water over the burn until the pain subsides and apply some ointment like vaseline and a non-stick sterile bandage.

3. Slips and Falls

Things move fast in a restaurant. You’re bound to trip and fall when rushing around. Hopefully, it’s not too bad, but if it is, again, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION! We must learn to take care of ourselves out there.

If it’s not bad, take time to rest. Putting ice on sore areas can help. Hurting your ankles or legs when falling is common, so elevate your leg while resting. If you haven’t already, buy non-slip shoes to decrease the possibility of slips and falls.

4. Muscle Strains

Since restaurant work is so active, feeling sore is expected. If you’re not careful, it could become more serious, like throwing your back out from lifting a keg or developing tendonitis from shaking cocktails. In these cases, a little forethought and mindfulness can go a long way.

Since you’re on your feet all day, you will want a good pair of comfortable and supportive shoes. Also, take some time and learn a few stretches you can do daily—and most importantly—learn how to lift things properly! It doesn’t matter if it’s light. It helps to learn not to use your back to avoid serious injuries.

5. Emotional Injuries

Likely the most common work injury but least talked about—emotional wounds. Emotions can get complicated in the service industry, whether a disgruntled customer on yelp or a co-worker offering less than constructive criticism.

Self-care is not a joke. Finding out what works for you is a personal journey, but it’s essential to have tools when dealing with people all day. Whether you meditate, work out, go to therapy, or a support group—finding what works for you is key to unloading the emotional baggage we build up at work.

The high pressure and action in restaurant work are a large part of what makes it so fun—until you get hurt, that is not fun.

Being mindful of your surroundings and physical and mental well-being is vital to avoiding most injuries. Of course, a good pair of shoes, learning proper techniques for cutting and lifting heavy items, and lastly—not being timid when yelling cues like “CORNER!” are helpful too.

If you want an extra reminder of the typical restaurant work injuries so you can better avoid them, then follow us on Instagram to learn more about entering the drawing for a free Poached Restaurant Woes Graphic Sweatshirt!


About the author

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

About the author

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.