No worker in Michigan is completely safe from workplace hazards. From the potential for senseless mass shootings to falling off scaffolding, the risks can pile up. Even people who work from home face hazards, such as break-ins or falling down the stairs. But, what about fast food restaurants? While they do not typically top the list of dangerous places to work, recent reports are causing the general public to reconsider that idea.
According to CNBC, in 2015, workers at McDonald’s filed claims against the fast food giant for hazardous workplace conditions. Workers filed 28 health and safety complaints, spread out across 19 U.S. cities. Some of the causes of injury included burns, which often stemmed from pressure to cook food quickly while understaffed. Workers also alleged slipping hazards could cause accidents because the floors were not only wet, but greasy.
McDonald’s responded to the claims to say they were committed to improving these conditions and creating a safe work environment for employees. However, critics say they undermined the strength of their response by then adding that they viewed the complaints as a strategy by activists to target the McDonald’s brand for media coverage.
Earlier this year, Business Insider brought Starbucks into the mix as both Starbucks and McDonald’s workers spoke out about violent confrontations and other hazards at work. In a lot of these instances, the perpetrators are not colleagues. They are customers. One incident in Florida involved a male customer reaching across a McDonald’s counter and grabbing a 20-year-old woman by her shirt. Another customer recently burned a teen in a drive-through in California, after throwing hot coffee in her face. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers are finding discarded syringes in the bathrooms.
Business Insider also cited a study on fast food workers that showed 87% had been injured at work at least once in the year prior. The study included 67% of respondents saying they had suffered from cuts and 79% received burns.
While many people do not think of fast food restaurants as a dangerous place to work, this is rapidly changing. From customer feelings of entitlement to hazardous work conditions behind the scenes, a lot can go wrong very quickly.