Many young workers in P.E.I are employed in the food service industry over the summer. As a result, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is focusing its youth safety education efforts on helping restaurant employers keep their young workers safe.
“Workers in the fast-paced food service industry frequently encounter hazards such as sharp knives, hot liquids and heavy trays,” said Bill Reid, WCB director of occupational health and safety. “Inexperience and an eagerness to do well on the job can make young workers particularly vulnerable to injury. Effective training, supervision and well-maintained equipment are critical in ensuring young worker safety.”
To enhance the culture of safety in the food service industry, a WCB youth education consultant will be visiting Island restaurants this summer to distribute the Guide for Employers of Young Workers and to discuss ways to develop safe work habits in young workers.
WCB recommends employers share the following tips for working safely in the food service industry with their young workers:
• When working around sharp or hazardous kitchen equipment such as meat slicers, get the proper training, follow safe work procedures and unplug equipment before cleaning it.
• When using fat fryers, make sure utensils and food are dry before putting them in hot oil, lower items into the fryer slowly and be careful not to drip oil on the floor.
• Use safe lifting techniques. Bend legs at the knee, make sure the load is not too heavy, keep your vision unobstructed and ask for help when needed.
• When carrying heavy trays, avoid overloading by making several lighter trips and balance the load by putting heavier items in the centre. Keep trays clean and dry, and carry trays as close to your body as possible.
• To avoid slips and trips, clean floors regularly, clean up spills immediately, use warning signs for wet floors and wear non-slip footwear.