Risk Alerts

Preventing Injuries to Food Service Employees

Every year, Church Mutual customers report more than 4,000 injuries to their employees. One occupation needing specific risk management attention is food service employees.

Employees in this category includes chefs, cooks, dieticians, dishwashers, kitchen aides and support staff. Past claims provide insight into key safety issues to help prevent similar injuries. Use the following guidelines to help evaluate, develop and implement good risk management practices and procedures for food service employees:

Slips, Trips and Falls

  • Greasy or wet floors can lead to slips and falls. Immediately clean up spills and mop floors regularly.
  • Properly store all products and supplies to eliminate clutter.
  • Require all employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
  • Ensure that nonskid floor mats are used in wet locations and the mats lay flat.

Cuts, Punctures and Scrapes

  • Teach employees how to properly handle, use and store knives.
  • Unplug slicers, mixers, blenders and similar machinery before cleaning.
  • Require cut-resistant gloves be worn when cutting.
  • Do not use hands or feet to manually compact trash.

Lifting Strains

  • Instruct employees about proper body mechanics and lifting techniques.
  • Arrange work areas so materials are within convenient reaching or lifting distances.
  • Organize storage areas to stock heavy items on lower shelves.
  • Provide material-handling equipment, such as carts, to limit lifting and carrying objects.


  • Require employees to use hand protection, such as oven mitts, when handling hot pans.
  • Teach the “standing-to-the-side” method when opening ovens and automatic dishwashers to allow steam to escape.
  • Instruct employees to never carry or move containers containing hot oil or boiling water.
  • Allow fryers and hot cooking pots to cool before performing cleaning procedures.

For a complete collection of the Risk Alert series, click here.

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Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)
P.O. Box 357 | 3000 Schuster Lane | Merrill, WI 54452-0357
Telephone (800) 554-2642 or (715) 536-5577

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Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.