What are the most common injuries in the workplace within the hospitality sector?

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The most common workplace injuries differ from sector to sector. In order to mitigate and manage the workplace health and safety risks posed by working in the hospitality sector, it is critical to understand what the most common injuries are. By understanding the most significant health and safety risks, businesses can effectively assess the risks and put in place effective policies and procedures to reduce them.   

What are the most common injuries in the workplace within the hospitality sector?:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Lifting, manual handling and upper limb disorders
  • Contact with hot surfaces and harmful substances
  • Dermatitis
  • Cuts from knives

Slips, trips and falls 

Slips, trips and falls are the most common workplace injuries in the hospitality sector. Chefs, kitchen assistants and waiting staff are exposed to the highest risks. These risks arise from food spillages, damage to flooring, trip hazards, wet or dirty floors, and carrying hot oil in kitchens. Businesses must assess the risk of slips, trips and falls on their premises and take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents. The risk assessment should not only include risks to staff, but also to visitors and members of the public.

Lifting, manual handling and upper limb disorders

Pain arising from manual handling injuries is the most common contributor to workplace ill health. Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require businesses to ‘avoid any manual handling operations which involve a risk to health – so far as reasonably practicable’. Where manual handling is unavoidable, a risk assessment must be carried out, and identified risks should be mitigated to protect staff and visitors. This may involve changing working procedures, considering how heavier items are stored and moved and work station layouts.

Contact with hot surfaces and harmful substances

A further risk is contact with hot surfaces in kitchens and cleaning products used in the hospitality sector. While prevention of exposure to hazardous substances should be ensured, wherever practicable, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) require employers to control exposure by assessing the risks, including any procedures for dealing with accident or incidents. Storage, handling and disposal should be covered in the risk assessment and procedures put in place to control direct contact (e.g. wearing protective gloves or eye protection).


Contact with water, food and cleaning products at work can lead to a risk of developing contact related dermatitis, one of the main causes of ill health in the hospitality sector. A risk assessment must be undertaken to understand the risks, and when identified, control measures must be put in place and information and training provided for staff. Reducing workers direct contact with water through using a dishwasher, rather than hand washing, using gloves, and providing moisturiser, can all help prevent the development of dermatitis.

Cuts from knives

As with all risks, employees must be kept safe from harm. Accidents involving knives are common in the hospitality sector, with cuts to the hand not holding the knife but also other knife injuries. A risk assessment must be undertaken, and control measures put in place. These may include employee training on knife use, including sharpening and cleaning, ensuring surfaces are stable and using protective clothing.

Workplace health and safety risks in the hospitality sector

In the latest UK HSE Health and Safety Statistics 2018/19, accommodation and food services have a workplace injury rate of 2,250 per 100,000. This is compared to an all-industry figure of 1,710, showing a significantly higher rate of workplace injury for those working in the hospitality sector. This increased risk can be significantly reduced with effective health and safety risk assessments, policies and procedures in place. The development of a collaborative workplace health and safety culture among businesses operating within the hospitality sector will further help to reduce workplace health and safety risks.

Read more with our top health and safety tips for the hospitality sector.  

How we can we help?

With extensive experience in hospitality and catering, Sure Safety Consultancy delivers trusted advice, training and consultancy covering workplace health, safety and fire. With decades of experience our team is equipped to deliver a fit for purpose health and safety solution for your business.

If you would like to hear more about our services, please contact us by email or call us on 029 2086 8802.