Approximately 5.4 million people work in the fast-food industry in the U.S. If you are one of them, no one needs to tell you that you work in a high-paced, furious environment, especially during the lunch and dinner rushes. 

What you may not realize, however, is that you face a reasonably high risk of sustaining an on-the-job injury. In 2017, the rate of non-fatal injuries to fast-food workers was approximately 3 in 100. While that may not sound like many, it translates to 172,800 injured workers. Your three greatest risks are falls, cuts and burns. 

1. Falls 

Given that spills happen all the time in restaurant kitchens and dining rooms, it should not surprise you to learn that falls represent the number one cause of injury to fast-food workers. Thankfully, while most falls result in nothing more serious than a strain or sprain, you can sustain a severe injury from a slip, trip or fall. 

For instance, falls are also the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. As its name implies, a TBI represents a potentially life-threatening injury to your brain that causes it to begin malfunctioning. TBIs occur when your head forcefully hits the floor, wall, table, counter or some other hard surface during your fall. A TBI can lead to all sorts of lingering problems, such as the following: 

  • Vision difficulties 
  • Hearing difficulties 
  • Speech difficulties 
  • Balance and coordination difficulties 
  • Cognitive difficulties 

2. Cuts 

If your job duties include cutting, slicing, peeling or dicing foods, you can easily cut yourself, especially your fingers, on the sharp knives and peelers you must use. Also, if a knife slips out of your wet or oily hands, it can seriously injure virtually any part of your body. 

3. Burns 

Regardless of your precise fast-food job definition, you undoubtedly spend a good deal of your time working around hot stoves, ovens, grills and hot beverage machines. In addition, most fast-food restaurants keep their prepared food warm under heating lamps. Coming into contact with any of these appliances, including the vents, hoods and ducts above them, can result in a serious burn.