Many teens seek summer employment in the restaurant industry. From casual dining chains to high-end restaurants, you’ll be seeing more of them taking your orders and busing tables over the next few months. Many you may not see because they are behind the scenes in the kitchen.

Restaurant work can be dangerous for anyone. However, it can be particularly hazardous for inexperienced, part-time employees. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that the majority of work-related injuries among those under 18 occur in the restaurant industry. There are several key reasons for this:

  • Teen employees have less on-the-job experience, so they often don’t know how to protect themselves from common restaurant hazards.
  • Teens are more likely to take risks because they don’t understand the dangers.
  • If they’re only working in a restaurant for the summer and/or part-time, they may not get the amount of safety and other training that full-time workers receive.
  • They may not know their rights. Minors are often prohibited by law from performing certain hazardous tasks. Connecticut also has restrictions on the hours that minors can work in restaurants and at other jobs, both during the school year and during nonschool weeks. Long shifts can increase the chances of mistakes and carelessness that can lead to injuries.

Restaurants should have programs in place to train these young workers. Even though they may only be working in the restaurant for a few months, it’s worth the time and effort. Not only can proper safety training protect teen workers, but it can help prevent them from accidentally injuring other employees.

Restaurant injuries such as burns, cuts and falls can be particularly serious. If you’ve suffered an injury at work, it’s essential to make sure that you get the compensation to which you’re entitled. An experienced attorney can help.