Work Safe

Food Service

As the largest American business sector, the food service industry employs more than 13 million people—making the likelihood of workplace injury that much more significant. The risk of injury, illness and fatality are compounded by a young workforce and exposure to a wide range of potential hazards from food preparation to delivery.

Understanding the role of prevention and committing to a safety program can go a long way toward reducing exposure to hazards and eliminating workplace incidents altogether. By implementing a safety program you can help your company commit to serving its valuable employees, the same way they’ve committed to serving your customers.

Do I really need a food service safety program?
When you’re weighing the importance of dedicating time and resources to safe work practices, food handling and hygiene, consider these alarming statistics:

  • Nearly 61 percent (241,300) of all injury and illness cases reported in the ‘leisure and hospitality’ category occurred in food service and drinking establishments (1).
  • Nearly four out of 100 full-time workers in food service and drinking establishments report experiencing a work-related injury or illness (2).
  • Almost one in five workers in the food service industry fall between the ages of 16 and 19 years old—equating to about five times the proportion for all other industries (3).
  • Due to a lack of experience and a number of developmental characteristics, young workers are at a significantly higher risk of workplace injury.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008.
3Department of Labor, 2008.

What’s the real cost of workplace injury?
The impact of workplace injury and illness extends far beyond the costs of medical care, especially when you consider these indirect areas of impact:

  • Morale
  • Group health insurance costs
  • Effects on family members
  • Loss in productivity
  • Skill replacement
  • Tight employment market
  • Cost of hiring new employees

According to data compiled by Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, the average cost of a lost-time claim is over $20,000—a cost that could easily be avoided through a genuine commitment to workplace safety.


Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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