You’ve probably got a few teen employees under your care in your own restaurant or food service establishment. Studies have shown that thirty percent of all employees in food or drink establishments are under the age of twenty, and food service is often the first job of choice for any teen looking for a part or full time opportunity. There are, however, many areas of food service that can be a bit on the dangerous side for teens, and there are areas where the most injuries are seen to occur. Just a few simple precautions and you can create a much safer work environment, not only for your teen employees, but the rest of your staff as well.
Most child labor laws do not allow for employees younger than the age of 16 to work with anything apart from soda machines, snack bars, and other serving counters, however, that does not mean that there is not a safety hazard when it comes to those areas for teens, still yet. The keys to keeping your teen employees safe is often very similar to keeping your adult employees safe- just be sure that all employees with access to cooking areas are wearing adequate clothing, neatly kept and skid resistant shoes with closed toes. Make sure that you are keeping well maintained fryers to reduce the risk of grease splatters, spills and other hazards, but also, make sure that employees are never permitted to keep their drinks near the fryers. This can often result in a spill that causes a grease splatter or overflow, which can result in serious injury.
Also, be sure that the staff that is running your fryer isn’t overfilling the baskets- no matter how busy you are. An overfull fryer basket can often result in excessive splashing and also in overflow of hot oil which can injure both the cook, and those standing close by. Also make sure that only the manufacturer’s guidelines are being used in not only the day to day operations but the maintenance of the fryers as well if your staff handles the cleaning and care. Ensure that the fryers are kept very clean and very well maintained but also be sure that there is a grease cutting solution being used on the floor around the fryer off and on throughout the day to prevent slips from grease spills. Keeping a class K fire extinguisher near your fryer at all times is essential to the safety of your crew, as well.
Remember, you have a responsibility to all of your staff to ensure their safety on the job- and a particularly heavy responsibility falls when employing teen aged staff. Always correct and use proper disciplinary action in the cases of rough housing so that your teen staff is aware that it will not be tolerated. Make sure that regardless of the situation, care and caution is taken at all times to ensure a very safe, and clean work environment for all, including your teen staff.