Female cut finger while slicing cucumber, accident in kitchen, household injury.

Thousands of people work in South Carolina restaurants and face severe safety hazards every day. Boiling oil, wet floors, overexertion, and other hazards put food service workers at risk of severe injuries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 2,200 food service workers in South Carolina sustained nonfatal injuries in a single recent year.

The South Carolina work injury lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm are ready to help food service workers who have sustained job-related injuries. This article describes the most common work-related injuries among South Carolina food service employees, their employers’ responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and your legal options if you sustain an on-the-job injury.

Most Common Work-Related Injuries Among Food Service Workers

The fast-paced world of food service can lead to many job-related injuries, some of which can have severe repercussions for hurt employees. Some common job-related injuries in the South Carolina food service industry include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls – Wet floors, cluttered walkways, and uneven surfaces often lead to slips and falls in restaurants. A slip-and-fall accident can result in sprains, fractures, or more severe injuries.
  • Burns and scalds – Working with hot ovens, stoves, and boiling liquids is an everyday task in the food service industry. Accidental contact with these hot surfaces or substances can cause painful burns or scalds.
  • Cuts and lacerations – Food service employees often handle knives and other sharp tools. Mishandling or accidents during busy hours can lead to cuts ranging from minor nicks to severe lacerations.
  • Muscle strains and sprains – Lifting heavy objects, like bulk food supplies and equipment, is common in food service. Improper lifting techniques and overexertion can cause muscle strains or sprains, especially in the back and shoulders.
  • Repetitive stress injuries – Repetitive tasks, such as chopping, stirring, or even typing orders, can lead to repetitive stress injuries. Over time, these repetitive motions can strain muscles and tendons, leading to conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Responsibilities of Employers in Ensuring a Safe Workplace

South Carolina law clearly states that employers must provide a safe workplace for employees and minimize hazards that could cause harm. The requirement includes properly training employees on using dangerous equipment, informing workers about potentially hazardous cleaning agents or other chemicals, keeping walkways clear of hazards, and so on.

Options for Workers Injured in the Food Service Industry

In South Carolina, food service employees who suffer job-related injuries have two options for compensation. The first is filing a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. Workers’ compensation benefits cover an injured worker’s medical bills and replace a portion of their lost wages, which can make a significant difference after an accident. Workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of who was to blame for the accident.

In certain circumstances, injured employees can file a third-party personal injury claim. This applies when the injury occurs due to the negligence of someone other than the employer or a co-worker. An example would be a product liability claim against an equipment manufacturer in cases of defective equipment. A third-party claim can provide broader compensation, including money for pain and suffering, but requires proving that the third party was at fault for the accident.

In some situations, you can pursue both a workers’ comp claim and a third-party claim. Understanding which options are available is crucial to maximizing your potential compensation.

Get Help from Our South Carolina Workplace Injury Lawyers

If you sustained a job-related injury as a food service employee in South Carolina, Jebaily Law Firm wants to help you fight for maximum compensation from every source. Contact us today for a free consultation.

George Jebaily

George D. Jebaily, Managing Partner, is the lead attorney for the Personal Injury Team at Jebaily Law Firm, and in 2014 was elected as an at–large member of Florence City Council.