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Preventing Scald Burns

Each year thousands of restaurant workers suffer burns requiring hospital treatment. One of the most common causes of these burns is scalds.

Scald burns occur when 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.

These burns not only present a risk to employee, but can result in increases to workers compensation premiums, lost productivity and possible lawsuit.

Here is a look at steps both employees and employers can take to prevent scald burns in the workplace.

Employer
• Place microwaves at a safe height within easy reach for all users to avoid spills. The face of the person using the microwave should always be higher than the front of the door.
• Provide splash screens for frying foods.
• Maintain equipment to ensure lids fit tightly and handles are properly secured.
• Train workers on the hazards of hot liquids and safe work practices.
• Designate someone each shift to be responsible for immediately cleaning up spills.
• Have one person on each shift who knows first aid procedures for burns.
• Always practice good housekeeping, keep floors clean of liquids and other debris. Slips, trips and falls are responsible for almost a third of all restaurant scald burns.
• Use non-slip matting, no-skid waxes and coat floors with grit, especially in areas where cooking oils and other liquids may spill.
• Keep a clear area around and above deep fryers to keep things from falling into a deep fryer.
• Install a gravity feed chute on deep fryers to an external receptacle so that workers do not have to handle hot waste cooking oil.
• Train and enforce proper cleaning procedures for ventilation components or filters. Do not allow anyone to stand on the hot fryer or a nearby uneven surface, for any reason. Have workers use a ladder or stepstool to reach any equipment, and ONLY when the oil is cool and securely covered

Employees
• Practice good communication. When walking with hot objects be sure fellow employees know where you are.
• When manually transferring hot liquids ensure the liquid is at a safe level for carrying (1/2 full), use splash guards, or secure lids for all vessels containing hot liquids.
• If transferring hot liquids using a rolling cart secure the vessel so sudden stops or jarring will not allow the container to tip or fall.
• Carefully handle micro waved liquids, always assuming they are hot.
• Always practice good housekeeping, keep floors clean of liquids and other debris. Slips,  trips and falls are responsible for one in three restaurant scald burns.
• Use hot pads, potholders, or appropriate size gloves or mitts when appropriate.
• Always wear the appropriate non-slip footwear.
• Don’t stand on the hot fryer or nearby uneven surface, for any reason. Use a ladder or  stepstool to reach filters or ventilation equipment above the fryer, but ONLY when the oil  is cool and securely covered.
• If adding solid grease to a deep fryer, place the grease in the basket then lower into the hot oil, do not put directly into fryer.

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