Ouch! Injuries and Accidents of Working in a Bakery

It's intern season again! Although our bakery seldom takes in interns, we would like every intern to be prepared for the food industry. It is not for the weak of heart so take a lot of notes, dear reader!

Working in a bakery- or any kitchen can be a rewarding experience for the most part. Every now and then we get our feelings hurt when we don't do a good job, get robbed, have long hours, come in on mandatory holidays and weekends. We also cover for each other when one of our buddies experience Life (with a capital " L"), and request for call outs.

The loudest warning we want to give our applicants is that working in a kitchen includes facing potential risks and the possibility of work-related injuries. Oh joy *insert sarcastic grin.* Bakery workers in particular engage in various tasks, from baking and decorating to packaging and cleaning, and each activity poses its own set of challenges. Here are some common work-related injuries that the Rolling in Dough staff are very cautious with:

  1. Burns: Bakery workers are at risk of burns due to exposure to hot ovens, stoves, and other baking equipment. Handling hot trays, pans, or pots without proper protection can lead to burns. Additionally, contact with hot sugar syrups or melted chocolate during decorating processes poses burn risks.

  2. Cuts and Lacerations: The use of knives, slicers, and other cutting tools in a bakery increases the risk of cuts and lacerations. Workers involved in dough preparation, slicing bread, or decorating cakes are particularly susceptible to injuries if proper safety measures are not followed. The worse ones are paper cuts, cardboard cuts and the jagged edge of cling wrap.

  3. Musculoskeletal Injuries: Repetitive motions and prolonged periods of standing, especially during tasks like kneading dough or decorating baked goods, can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, or strains may develop over time due to the physical demands of the job.

  4. Allergic Reactions: Some bakery workers may be exposed to allergens, such as flour, nuts, or other ingredients. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and may occur through inhalation or skin contact. It's essential for bakery employees to be aware of potential allergens and take precautions.

  5. Inhalation of Ingredient Dust: Flour, spice, fine sugar dust is a common byproduct in bakeries and can pose respiratory risks. Prolonged exposure to high levels of bakery dust may lead to respiratory issues such as asthma or allergic reactions. Proper ventilation and the use of respiratory protection can help mitigate these risks.

  6. Slips, Trips, and Falls: Bakeries often have smooth and sometimes slippery surfaces due to spilled ingredients or water. Workers are at risk of slips, trips, and falls, especially when moving quickly or carrying heavy trays. Proper housekeeping practices, non-slip footwear, and training can help prevent these accidents.

  7. Eye Injuries: Workers involved in decorating cakes or handling ingredients may be at risk of eye injuries from flying debris, splashes of hot substances, or contact with airborne particles. The use of protective eyewear is crucial to minimize these risks.

  8. Machine-Related Injuries: Bakery machinery, such as mixers, dough sheeters, and ovens, poses the risk of injuries if not used properly. Pinching, crushing, or entanglement in moving machine parts can result in serious injuries. Adequate training and safety protocols are essential to prevent accidents.

  9. Chemical Exposure: Cleaning agents, sanitizers, and other chemicals used in a bakery for cleaning and sanitizing can pose risks if not handled properly. Workers may experience skin irritation, eye injuries, or respiratory issues due to chemical exposure.

To minimize the risk of work-related injuries in a bakery, it's crucial for our staff to keep an eye out for each other, maintain equipment regularly, and create a culture of safety awareness. 

If any of you readers are considering joining us in the field, WELCOME! And also, you've been warned. 


Photo model: Our favorite, Kelsey!

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