How restaurant employees should handle a work-related injury or illness
While some jobs are riskier than others, most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation when injuries occur—including restaurant and bar staff. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 4.6 million people suffer work-related injuries every year.
Let’s look at bar and restaurant injuries and what to do when they happen.
Common kitchen and bar work-related injuries
A commercial kitchen contains some dangerous tools and equipment. Sharp knives, hot surfaces, fire, steaming liquids and splattering oil make restaurant accidents inevitable. Bars aren’t much different, and the often tiny workspace doesn’t help.
Here are 4 common types of injuries that happen in a kitchen or bar:
1. Slips and falls
Slip and falls can happen due to a slick and wet floor. This may be due to food spillage, poor lighting or uneven floors. The risk of falling is higher in a bar due to spilled drinks. Your choice of footwear can increase the risk of a fall. Falling in such a dangerous environment can have devastating consequences. Nasty falls can cause lifelong disabilities or even death.
A typical kitchen is packed with burning hazards. Hot flames, boiling liquids, stovetops and steaming food make burns easy to happen. Bartenders face similar risks when making drinks that require open flames. Burns are classified into first, second and third degrees depending on the severity.
3. Cuts and lacerations
Chopping and cutting is an integral part of the kitchen experience. With a wrong knife size or improper cutting techniques, you risk losing a finger. When working in a bar, you also need to slice fruits continually. The most significant threat is the ever-present danger of broken glass.
4. Strains and sprains
Working in a kitchen requires you to be on your feet and on time. The twisting, turning, lifting and reaching can strain your neck, shoulders and back. Repetitive tasks can cause conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. For bartenders, working with a cocktail shaker can cause tendonitis.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
How to file a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona
There is usually a lot going on when you suffer an injury on the job. The priority should be getting emergency medical assistance. Only then can you worry about securing your benefits.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Notify your employer. You should inform your employer about any injuries suffered on the job for 2 reasons. One, the accident report will come in handy should you have to undergo an independent medical exam. The second reason is that the employer can notify the insurance carrier and provide you the details about the insurer. You will require the insurer’s name and address, the policy number and the expiration date of the insurance coverage.
- Seek medical help. Nothing is more important than your well-being. Get emergency medical assistance first and then worry about the claim. Seeing a doctor also legitimizes your application in case there is a dispute. After the examination, your doctor will write a report and conduct scans if necessary.
- Fill out the forms. The compensation claim is only initiated once you have correctly filled out the relevant forms. Under Arizona workers’ compensation law, you have 1 year from the injury date to file the claim. There are 2 forms to be filled out. The first one is the Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury, which is filled out at the doctor’s office. The second form is the Worker’s Injury Report. Both should be filled accurately and signed.
- File your claim. The completed forms must be filed to the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). The medical provider submits the Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury within 8 days of rendering treatment. A copy of this report should also be sent to your employer and the insurer. Follow up with your doctor to make sure it’s done. It is up to you to file the Worker’s Injury Report form to the ICA. You can mail it or fax it to them.
After filing, the insurance carrier will be notified about the claim. The insurer will have 21 days to accept or deny your claim. Receiving a denial notice is not the end of the road. You will have 90 days to request a hearing.
Why you should file for workers’ compensation
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that exists entirely to help workers get injured on the job. If you fail to file a compensation claim in time, you lose all the benefits.
Here are a few reasons why you should always file a workers’ compensation claim if you are hurt on the job in a professional kitchen, bar or restaurant.
- Since the whole process is free, you don’t lose anything, even if your claim is denied. All the forms required can be downloaded for free from the ICA website.
- Because workers’ compensation already exists, you usually can’t sue your employer for work-related injuries. This makes workers’ compensation your only remedy.
- If your claim is accepted, your medical bills will be settled. You may also be entitled to a cash benefit. The payments can go on for a lifetime if the injury leads to job loss.
- Your health insurance does not cover damages that happen at work. Failing to file a compensation claim may leave you with a substantial financial burden.
Hopefully, this information makes dealing with work-related injuries a little easier. It is your right to seek compensation, and nobody should tell you otherwise. Get in touch with an experienced Arizona work injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.