Using your experience as a franchisee, what do think is the number one employee injury reported to Intrepid Direct Insurance Company? Sprained ankles? Back injuries? Burns?
Spoiler Alert: It’s lacerations! In fact, 30% of all workers’ compensation claims we receive relate to cuts and lacerations. While usually not too severe or painful, these injuries can cause a significant amount of disruption to your employees’ professional and personal lives, and to your business!
A Familiar Story
Consider this chain of events: Tina cuts her finger at the food prep area. She contaminates the product she’s working with. Her work is delayed while she bandages her finger. Steve, who is busy taking orders, stops what he’s doing to throw out the contaminated food and disinfect the prep space. Once Tina is ready to start working again, she takes time to find more product in the walk-in and locate a cutting board and knife, only to realize the cut has bled through the bandage. The bleeding won’t stop and it becomes clear Tina needs stitches. She leaves for the urgent care clinic and doesn’t return until her next shift. You receive a call from your manager who tells you about Tina’s injury and, aware that Tina will incur at least one bill from the urgent care clinic, you report the claim to your insurance company.
You know this story can go on (and sometimes on and on) but we’ll stop here because the point is illustrated: even minor cuts can affect your business in a big way. The good news? We’ve worked to identify how these lacerations happen so you can prevent injuries in the future!
Common Laceration Causes
Surprisingly, it isn’t your employee’s use of the slicer that you should worry about. Most injuries occur while cleaning the slicer, reaching across the slicer while the blade is in motion, and even slicing food products that are not intended to be sliced with a commercial-grade slicer (think: bread loaves!). Follow these tips to avoid commercial slicer-related lacerations:
- Train your employees on safe work procedures while using the slicer.
- Protective gloves should be mandatory while using and cleaning the slicer.
- Power off the slicer before cleaning.
Knives are frequently used by franchisees for many reasons and are another common culprit for lacerations. Consider the following to help reduce knife-related injuries:
- Work with your franchisor to establish guidelines for safe knife use and storage.
- Remember the gloves used with the slicer? Your employees should use them when using knives too!
- Don’t submerge knives in the sink! Knives should be cleaned separately from other kitchen items to avoid injuries caused when reaching into the dishwater!
Review the list of other common causes for lacerations and ensure you have a plan in place to proactively avoid injuries.
- Sweep up broken glass instead of using your hands to pick it up.
- Don’t compress trash bags! Something sharp, like an aluminum can lid might be on top!
- Whenever possible, avoid using box cutters to break down cardboard, whenever possible.
- Avoid distractions like chit-chatting with other employees while using sharp objects.
With knowledge about how lacerations occur and common sense procedures in place to avoid accidents, your business can cut out cuts to avoid costly and time-consuming workers’ compensation claims. But should the worst happen, Intrepid Direct’s Claims Department is here for you!