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Scald Burns in Restaurant Workers (part I)

Scaled burns are one of the most common causes of burns in restaurants. They occur when the skin comes into contact with hot liquids or steam. Scalds with hot oil are generally more severe than those from hot water because oil heats to higher temperatures than water and oil is thicker so it may remain on the skin for a longer period of time. Scalds from water are very frequent in the restaurant industry and can cause third degree burns, (see also third degree burns part II) almost instantaneously if the water is boiling or simmering.

Job site hazards:

  • Slip or trip hazards can cause workers to stumble or fall. Slips, trips and falls are common events leading to restaurant worker burns. Many serious burns occur when employees slip and reach to steady themselves. This action often knocks hot liquids off of counters/stovetops on to the worker.
  • Carrying full containers of hot liquids is very dangerous to the employee carrying the container and to those working around them.
  • Cooking with boiling water, hot oil or other hot liquids puts you at risk of being burned from splashes or spills. Follow all safety procedures when cooking using hot liquids,
  • Working with or around pressurized cooking equipment is also dangerous. If pressurized equipment is not properly maintained or used, it can explode causing serious steam injuries.
  • Steam from microwaves can reach temperatures greater than 200 degrees rapidly in covered containers. Puncture plastic wrap or use vented containers to allow steam to escape while cooking in the microwave, or wait at least one minute before removing the cover.
  • Cleaning deep fryers or around deep fryers are common tasks associated with burn injuries in restaurants. Extreme caution should be used when cleaning the deep fryer and surrounding kitchen area.

Scaled burns are preventable and both the employers and the employees can reduce the risk of these injuries.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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