When it comes to the fast-food industry, safety troubles appear to be troublingly common, according to the New York Daily News (3.17.15), citing a national online survey of restaurant workers done by Hart Research Associates for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. The survey found that 87 percent of fast food workers reported having at least one injury over the past year. During the same time period, 79 percent of the workers reported that they had been burned on the job. Close to two-thirds of the workers surveyed said they had been cut, and nearly one-third said they had been injured while lifting or carrying items in their store. Twenty-three percent said they fell on a wet, slippery or oily floor.
McDonald’s made international news after being hit with 28 health and safety complaints from employees in 19 cities. The lawsuits, filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), claim that the employees have suffered serious burns from their work at the restaurant.
Workers said that pressure to work quickly, combined with a lack of protective equipment and safety training, created a dangerous workplace. This led to dangerous accidents, some which resulted in severe burns. There appeared to have been many opportunities for injuries in the restaurants. While working at McDonald’s, workers had to handle boiling fryer oil and hot grills as well as cross floors that were wet or greasy.
The workers also said that the restaurants lacked first aid kits. Managers were allegedly telling workers they should treat their burns with condiments.
The complaints were filed at both corporate and franchise locations. Cities where complaints were filed include Nanuet, New York and New York, New York. The workers said that they want the fast-food corporation to take responsibility for the hazards in its restaurants.
Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the health and safety of their workers. Proactive safety and health initiatives are an effective way to prevent workplace injuries and avoid possible lawsuits, in addition to higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Individuals who were injured on the job should contact an experienced lawyer who can evaluate their case and offer advice on the workers’ compensation benefits they may be entitled to receive.