Doesn’t it seem like kids grow up too fast these days? It’s easy to forget that as mature and as smart as they may seem, teenagers still lack the experience an adult has. And if you own a restaurant, there’s an excellent chance that you employ a few teenagers, which could impact your restaurant workers comp insurance costs if your accident rate increases.
48% of all working teenagers (ages 15-17) in the U.S. work in the “leisure and hospitality” industry, which includes restaurants and other food service jobs.
This group of employees is particularly vulnerable to workplace injuries. Each year more than 210,000 teens are injured on the job, 70,000 are hospitalized, and 70 are killed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The injury rate for workers under the age of 25 is about two times higher than for older workers, and based on emergency room data, 38% of teens who are injured on the job are working in the leisure and hospitality industry.
Restaurant Industry Insurance Risks
Every workplace has its share of hazards, and restaurants are certainly no exception. Some of the most common dangers in the food industry include slippery floors, hot cooking equipment, and sharp objects like knives and slicers. Often teens are injured because they don’t receive adequate safety training and supervision or they’re working with unsafe equipment, or stressful conditions.
Most workplace injuries are preventable, and many of the same safety measures you take with your more mature employees also apply to teenagers. Proper training and supervision should be your first priorities.
Reduce Risk With These Teen Safety Meaures
Here are some safety measures for teens from the Texas Department of Insurance:
- Train them on the importance of safety and on the manufacturer’s instructions for machine use and cleaning.
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment and available machine guarding and enforce the use of that equipment.
When teens operate a microwave oven:
- Train them on microwave safety, such as 1) following manufacturer’s instructions, 2) covering foods to avoid splattering, 3) opening tightly covered containers away from their face, 4) preventing the use of metals, foil, or whole eggs in a microwave, and 5) keeping the interior clean to avoid splattering and popping.
- Place the microwave at approximately waist level and within easy reach.
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment such as hot pads.
- Make sure door seals are in excellent condition and free from food or grease buildup.
When teens use steamers/pressure cookers:
- Train them to shut off the steam supply and wait for the pressure to equalize before opening the lid of the pressure cooker and to stand to the side and open the pressure cooker away from themselves, keeping the open lid between them and the pressure cooker.
When teens use coffee makers:
- Train them to check to make sure the coffee filter is in place before making coffee and that the coffee has stopped dripping before removing the filter.
- Place hot coffee makers away from the edge of counters.
Comply With Child Labor Regulations
Also, you should be aware of child labor rules and regulations set by the Department of Labor and your state. There are restrictions on the hours a teen can work and restrictions that prohibit teens from using or cleaning specific equipment. Once you know the rules and regulations that apply to teens, take steps to implement safe work practices, such as labeling the equipment that teenagers are not permitted to use.
It’s your responsibility to provide a safe work environment for all of your employees, particularly teens who are more vulnerable to workplace injuries, and avoiding workplace injuries can increase production, improve employee morale, and lower insurance premiums.
Protect Your Business - Contact American Insuring Group
To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, restaurant insurance, or any type of coverage for your business, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent insurance agents are sure to find you the right insurance at the best price. Don't take chances with your business - contact us today.