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Hot Coffee Burns

Hot Coffee Burns, Hot Tea Burns, Hot Food & Beverage Burns and Scalds, Hot Coffee Spills and Burns from Drive Thru Incidents, Hot Coffee & Hot Tea Spills in Carryout, and more…

No one heads to the drive-thru at the restaurant or coffee shop down the street from their home expecting to get scalded by spilling a hot cup of coffee on their torso, lap, or crotch… but it happens far more frequently than what you might think.

Unfortunately, it happens many times every single week across the country and around the globe. In fact, it is one of the restaurant industry’s recognized hazards.

Every year, thousands of employees and customers get scalded and severely burned in America’s restaurants from a wide variety of incidents and accidents.

The facts speak for themselves before this calendar year is out, thousands will be left severely injured, harmed, and maimed due to the impact that hot beverages, hot teas, hot soups, and hot foods have when they come in contact with human skin.

“So, what’s going on in America’s restaurants?” you ask.

Well, the best answer that I can give you is this: The restaurant industry—the industry that I dearly love and have spent my entire career working in—is covered up with incompetence, mediocrity, and management neglect. Simply stated… many of those placed in charge of restaurant premises and responsible for the safety, health, and security of people and premises lack basic dangerous condition awareness, safety and security training, and basic day-to-day operational education to even know how to serve hot coffee and hot tea the correct way and per the industry standards and standards of care … especially as it pertains to serving hot coffee and hot tea out of a drive-thru or carry out restaurant operation.

This can be said for many of the other various kinds of burns and scalds that take place across the restaurant industry as well.

Management being competent and providing industry-standard competent person oversight, in some instances, is nearly nonexistent. Sadly, this cesspool of mediocrity and below-industry standard level of operational performance is putting us all at risk. . . . and that’s what’s going on in restaurants!

Make no mistake about it, restaurant industry employees—at any level, regardless of compensation—do not wake up in the morning wanting to do a poor job. It’s bad management that inspires them to do that and puts them in that position.

With that being said, the alternative is also true. Great management oversight focused on meeting industry standards and consistent day-to-day operational execution and risk reduction systems lead to inspired employees wanting to do a great job and fewer people getting injured, harmed, sickened, maimed, and even killed while doing business in restaurants.

Our industry has the highest incident rate (for both customers and employees) of any industry when it comes to burns and scalds. Our incident rate is so high that the number two industry is far, far, far behind our industry when it comes to burns and scalds that injure, harm, maim, and scar employees and customers – and in many cases… for life.

Industry experts and government organizations are well aware of the statistics associated with the restaurant industry and the kinds of incidents that take place in restaurants each and every day; but rarely do they communicate them to the general public or to the restaurant industry participants themselves.

From the hands-on experience, I can tell you that the number of incidents involving coffee burns, hot tea scalds, soup burns, and hot food and beverage burns of various kinds occurring every year in restaurants all across America…from sea to shining sea — is truly mind-boggling and heartbreaking and on the rise.

These occurrences happen to employees and customers from nearly every walk of life; and the truth is this… the vast majority of these burn and scald incidents are preventable.

These events change the lives of nearly everyone involved—from the person harmed to the manager or owner responsible for the premises—in some instances, damaging them physically, mentally, and emotionally for years to come and, in many cases, leaving them marred and scarred for the remainder of their lives.

These incidents also impact the lives of those who are forced by pure happenstance to watch them take place—family members, other customers, and other employees, owners, and managers.

Restaurants that are otherwise perfectly sound, reasonably viable, and substantially profitable businesses are having to close their doors from the overwhelmingly negative impact of these types of cases involving such matters as a hot cup of coffee being dumped squarely on a customer’s lap while sitting in or upon first exiting the drive-thru pad. The same can be said, for the potpourri of other burn and scald incidents.

Right now, at this very moment, many restaurateurs are dealing with serious court cases and overwhelming litigation matters (that the public doesn’t even know about), all the while watching their hopes and dreams of owning and operating a successful restaurant go up in smoke due to their complete lack of hazardous and dangerous condition awareness and the necessary training that was needed to prevent these types of incidents from happening on their premises in the first place.

Sadly, once these cases have been adjudicated—and in many instances well prior to the final ruling—the dreams of many will instead turn into life-altering nightmares of epic proportions—the likes from which they may never fully recover.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), work-related burns are a leading cause of occupational injury in the United States (approximately 20-25 percent). The Burn Foundation states that the food-service industry experiences the highest number of burns of any employment sector-listing job positions of cooks, food handlers, kitchen workers, and wait staff as being among the top fifty occupations most at risk for on-the-job burn injury. Additionally, the majority of workers hospitalized for workplace scalds and contact burns are involved in food preparation.

But what you probably didn’t know was that countless restaurant customers are also at risk for being burned and scalded in restaurants or due to various restaurant operational procedures. Hot coffee and hot tea burns happen much more regularly in drive thru locations across the country than what most realize.

Because of this industry-recognized dangerous condition that exists most prevalently in the restaurant industry, it is reasonable and customary that safety and training regarding the use of any substance that can cause burns and scalds be consistent, ongoing, and always top-of-mind for management and employees.

Some of the hazards and dangerous conditions that exist in restaurants that can result in burns and scalds for not only employers and employees but for customers, vendors, and all others who enter the premises as well, include but are not limited to, the following: management has not enforced safety policies, practices, and procedures; employers and management have not trained restaurant employees on safety policies, practices, and procedures; employees ignore the safety rules, policies, practices, and procedures; employees take short cuts when in a hurry; the person working the expedite station didn’t fill the coffee cup to the fill line; the employees did not get the lid put on the correct way; the employees did not follow the industry standards for handling or handing out the coffee; and much more.

Hot coffee and hot tea can cause a third-degree burn; in 1 second at 156 degrees F, in 2 seconds at 149 degrees F. And here is the rub… for the industry to meet the standard temperature for distribution the liquid must be hotter than that. Much hotter in fact. These cases are much more complex than the serving temperature of hot coffee or hot tea.

Give us a call to discuss your client’s hot coffee or hot tea burn and scald case or any case where a customer, an employee, or a vendor got damaged, harmed, or maimed from a hot food and beverage burn or scald.

We would be happy to help you navigate all of the hot water and hot air that will be involved in your underlying legal matter. And yes… that pun was intended.

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