A Jacksonville man is in serious condition following a kitchen fire in Fruit Cove. The fire left him with severe injuries and underscores one of the many dangers restaurant workers face, and could find themselves unprepared for.
The Oct. 19 Loop Pizza Grill fire showcases but one potential workplace danger restaurant employees can experience. Employees contained the fire, but not before one of them was “badly burned” by the blaze and airlifted to Shands Gainesville, according to News4Jax.
Here’s what employees can do if there’s a fire or other safety hazards in a restaurant.
Fires like the one News4Jax touched on are some of the most dangerous workplace accidents. They can be sudden, develop quickly, and hard to contain.
The Occupational Safety and Hazard Association, responsible for enforcing workplace safety standards, requires restaurants give proper training to employees expected to use fire extinguishers, but everyone can benefit from the knowledge. Simply pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep back and forth until the fire is extinguished. Activating your fire suppression system, if it isn’t automatic or did not trip, could also contain the flames.
If a fire gets out of control, don’t put yourself in danger trying to stop it. Your life is worth more than your restaurant. Leave the premises and contact fire authorities if you haven’t already.
Gas Leaks and Explosions
Another serious danger comes from gas leaks. Gas leaks usually occur when poorly fitted or maintained equipment can’t handle gas flow. Bad odors, dizziness, and lightheadedness are common side effects of a leak, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Florida is no stranger to natural gas leaks. Last year, a family-run restaurant was destroyed and two people were injured in Miami after an explosion.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine similarly covers some of the more dangerous consequences, however: large quantities of gas could result in unconsciousness or death. Exposure to a leak’s byproducts like methane or carbon dioxide can be equally devastating. The NLM further states that many leaks’ effects are contained only to the air and might present little health risk.
Sometimes gas leaks end tragically when ignited. Florida Public Utilities provides tips to minimize chances of ignition, like turning electrical equipment on or off. Avoid flipping light switches, using garage openers or doorbells, and even using a cellphone if you suspect a leak.
Some leaks can be fixed on the spot, but consider your safety. For a restaurant, the best thing you can do if you detect a leak is let your manager know and leave the premises if you believe it to be serious.
In The Kitchen
Fires and natural gas can affect all parts of a restaurant, but some accidents only take place in the kitchen. OSHA provides extensive information on many of the specific safety issues kitchens face, like slips, falls, cuts, and chemical burns.
Slippery floors are often caused by some common restaurant trappings, like grease spills or water condensation. Cleaning areas with dangerous chemicals can lead to respiratory problems or skin and eye irritation. The kitchen is also home to all kinds of equipment that slices bread, vegetables, and other foodstuffs, as well as knives or broken dishware that can cut through skin and sometimes cause major bleeding.
Using equipment with guards, cleaning with proper ventilation or gear, and wiping up spills as they occur are just some of the OSHA recommendations for preventing many of the dangers you see in the kitchen every day. You can talk to your employer about instituting these and more safety recommendations.
You might not be in any danger, but a coworker could need your help if they are burned, electrocuted, or otherwise incapacitated. Familiarizing yourself with how to respond to these circumstances could save lives. Knowledge like first aid and CPR training, plus knowing your restaurant’s safety plan, can improve both your coworker’s safety and chances of recovery.
But What If You’re Hurt?
Accidents of all kinds can happen at work — even if you’re prepared. If they do happen, they might fall under worker’s compensation insurance. Filing a claim can be a complex process that could require an attorney’s help to navigate. Learn more about what a worker’s compensation attorney can do for you. If you’re ready, complete a free, no-risk evaluation today.