Serious Burns in Restaurants

Charleston Restaurant Employee Burn Injury Lawyers

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving Employees in Charleston, Goose Creek, Summerville, and Surrounding Areas

Working in a restaurant can be an incredibly challenging and stressful job. And although those who have never worked in the service industry may not realize it, restaurant work can also be hazardous. While there are many dangers facing restaurant workers, one of the most common—and most serious—are burn hazards.

There are a few places in the restaurant industry where a Charleston restaurant worker can be at risk of burn injuries. The most common place is near the stove or grill, where oil and grease can splash up and cause serious burns. Other places to watch out for include the oven, fryer, and any area where hot food is being prepared.

Kitchen workers must be careful when handling hot pans or dishes and when opening the oven door. Steam burn injuries can also occur when workers clean floors with a steam mop. Burn injuries can also happen outside of the kitchen. Waitstaff can spill hot coffee or tea on themselves, bussers, or dishwashers.

Common Causes of Burns in Restaurants

According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, burns are one of the most common injuries suffered by restaurant workers. In fact, on average, restaurant workers suffer burn-related injuries at a rate of more than six times that of other workers. The following list includes the most common causes of burn injuries found in restaurants:

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns occur when a body part comes in contact with a hot surface such as a stove, the inside of an oven, or a hot pan. Restaurant workers can also experience a thermal burn after coming into contact with hot food.

According to the 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities chart, restaurants and other eating places had 4,950 heat thermal burn incidents. Also, a total of 500 chemical burns and corrosions occurred.

Scalding Burns

Scalding burns occur when a part of the body is exposed to hot water, other liquids, or steam. As a chef, sous-chef, cook, food preparer, baker, or other restaurant worker, encountering scorching water temperatures can often happen.

According to the American Burn Association 2018 Scald Statistics and Data Resources report, thirty-five percent of overall burn injury victims were admitted to burn centers for scalding burns.

Electrical Burns

An electrical burn occurs when a body part encounters electricity, usually due to an exposed wire or cord or a defective piece of cooking equipment. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International Workplace Injury and Fatality 2011-2020 Statistics, the accommodation and food services industry made up twenty-two percent of non-fatal electrical injuries.

Although cooks, hosts, servers, and other restaurant workers face many burn hazards, it is up to the employer to provide all workers with proper safety equipment and guidelines to avoid workplace burn injuries. A failure to do so and the employer could be held accountable.

Types of Degree Burns

When determining the severity of a burn, the total surface area of the body burn will be considered. When a restaurant worker obtains a burn injury, the injured worker should seek medical attention as soon as possible so that a physician can determine the degree of the burn. The degree of a burn can fall under the following categories:

1. First-Degree Burn: Superficial

2. Second-Degree Burn: Partial-thickness

3. Third-Degree Burn: Full-thickness

First-degree burns often affect the top layer of skin, the epidermis. Cooling down the affected area to reduce the redness and pain is crucial. Seeing a dermatologist regarding potential scarring can be helpful.

It is best to seek medical attention immediately with second-degree and third-degree burns, as these burns are considered more serious. Second-degree burns not only affect the epidermis, but also include the second layer of skin, the dermis. They often appear swollen, red, and blistered. Third-degree burns destroy all layers of the skin. They can affect bones, muscle tendons, and nerves, causing impairments to sensations.

Places Where Burn Injuries Can Happen

If you are a part-time or full-time food service worker in any of the following workplaces, you must notify your employer within ninety days of the burn incident:

  • Bakeries
  • Delis
  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Bars and Lounges
  • Restaurants
  • Catering

If you decide to file a worker’s compensation claim, it must be sent to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the incident. Through workers’ compensation, injured workers could receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage when they are unable to work.

How Can Injured Restaurant Workers Recover Compensation After a Burn Injury?

If you suffered burn injuries while working at a restaurant, you could pursue a claim for compensation to help you cover the costs you incurred due to your injuries. The first option is a workers’ compensation claim. The South Carolina workers’ compensation program is a system that allows injured workers to obtain compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages. Because the South Carolina workers’ compensation system is not based on fault, you do not need to prove that your employer (or anyone else) was responsible for your injuries. Instead, you must show that your injuries were related to your employment and that you were acting within the scope of your job at the time you were injured.

The second option is a third-party personal injury claim. Under the South Carolina workers’ compensation laws, unless an employer either does not have workers’ compensation insurance or intentionally causes an employee’s injuries, an employee cannot bring a personal injury claim against their employer. However, nothing in the workers’ compensation laws prevents an injured worker from getting a lawsuit against another negligent party. For example, if you were injured due to a piece of defective equipment, you could bring a product liability claim against the product’s manufacturer.

Have You Suffered Burn Injuries While Working at a Restaurant?

If you were recently injured as a server, host, manager, cook, or any other position in a restaurant, you may be entitled to financial compensation for what you have been through. The dedicated South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm can help you prepare a compelling claim for compensation.

Suffering severe burn injuries while you are on the job can be debilitating. You may need to see a burn nurse, an emergency department physician, an ophthalmologist, a dermatologist, or a plastic surgeon. We will ensure you receive the proper recovery treatment you need for your burn injuries.

To learn more and schedule a free consultation with a Charleston injury lawyer, call 843-720-2800 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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