Fast Food Drive-Thru Workers: Violence and Injury Prevention

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A restaurant drive-thru allows workers direct interaction with their customers, while handling food service and monetary transactions.  This environment may expose workers to a variety of hazards, including: Noise, Strains and Sprains, Workplace Violence, Prolonged Standing, and Car Exhaust.

Fast Food Workplace Violence

OSHA warns, “Many workplaces, like restaurants, can be a target for workplace violence because of the presence of cash, the late work hours and contact with the public. Young workers may also be exposed to workplace violence in restaurant drive-thru windows. In addition, sometimes the drive-thru is located in a structure removed from the main restaurant, isolating the [employee] from the support of fellow workers.”

OSHA urges employers and employees to prevent injury and workplace violence by adhering to the following guidelines:

Employee Safety

  • Follow workplace safety rules.
  • Use drop-boxes, if available, to deliver food to customers, especially late at night.
  • Keep the back door locked unless receiving deliveries.

Employer Responsibility and Best Practices

  • Follow child labor laws that restrict workers younger than 16-years-old from working after 7pm, except from June 1st through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9pm. Do not leave young workers alone at night to lockup. (State child labor laws may be more stringent).
  • Install bulletproof glass and limited access barriers for drive-thru windows.
  • Increase workplace security by installing video surveillance, alarm systems, and door detectors.
  • Increase lighting in dimly lit areas such as parking lots and around trash dumpsters.
  • Locate drive-thru windows within the same building as the restaurant, rather than in the parking lot by itself.

Know Your Rights

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