Work and hazards in hospitality

The hospitality industry includes tour operators and guides, working in cafes, restaurants, hotels, and clubs, and at events. About 5% of all employees in Australia work in the hospitality industry and about 10% of employed young people work in the hospitality industry, so it is an industry with an over-representation of young workers.

The industry has a high proportion of small employers with 85% of employers employing 20 or less employees. Part time and casual work is very widespread in the industry.

There are many jobs that young workers can do in the hospitality industry including:

  • waiters
  • bar attendants
  • ticket sellers
  • chefs
  • kitchen hands
  • event staff.

The most common hazards in the hospitality industry are:

  • lifting and pushing - eg. handling heavy or awkward shaped objects
  • slips, trips, falls - eg. slipping on a wet floor or tripping on uneven surfaces
  • hot surfaces and substances - eg. hot plates, pans and splashes from hot oils or liquids
  • cutting equipment - eg. knives and electric meat slicers
  • occupational violence - eg. abusive customers or dealing with robbers.

The chance that these hazards will result in an injury for young workers is higher when they are combined with risk factors such as:

  • lack of supervision
  • inexperience
  • trying to impress the boss, supervisor or co-workers
  • temporary employment
  • long working days.

When hazards are combined with risk factors (these are called dangerous combinations) the chance of injury, and the possible seriousness of the injury, increases.

Dangerous combinations in hospitality - an example

Nui has just got a job as a waitress in a busy cafe. It's Nui's first job as a waitress and she wants her boss and the customers to think she is good at the job. She works hard and is soon offered more and longer  shifts.

Because the tables are so close together Nui finds it difficult to move through the cafe quickly without bumping into tables and chairs - and the customers. The floor is also at slightly different levels where the floor surface changes from wood to tiles, and she has already caught her foot a couple of times.

Nui's chance of falling or tripping is greatly increased when these risk factors are combined.

Want to know more?

Then have a look at some of the resources about the hospitality industry in the Resource centre.