Posts

Tagrisk Restaurant Ergonomics Employees Standing in Front of Oven in Kitchen

Posture, Exertion and Motion in Restaurants

Posture, Exertion and Motion in Restaurants

Restaurants are not just judged by how great their food is and how outstanding their customer service is. Ergonomics play a factor in determining if a restaurant is a good spot to eat and a nice place to work. If Starbucks did not have comfortable seating, would it still be the amazing coffee shop it is today? Could restaurant turnover decrease if ergonomic conditions were positive and sustainable? Tagrisk Insurance Servcies is a firm believer in safety in the restaurant industry and ergonomics matters. As a restaurant owner, it is your job to make comfort a priority in your establishment.

Main ergonomic concerns for restaurants are the following:

Static Postures

  • Problem: When the body is positioned without movement for over 9 seconds repeatedly this causes fatigue, discomfort, and pain over time
  • Solution: Anti fatigue matting provides softer surfaces to relieve stress from standing for long periods of time. Footstools allow employees to shift their body weight from solely their legs and lower back.

Repetitive Motion

  • Problem: Continuous movement of upper body parts such as elbows, wrists, forearms, and upper arms with more than 9 reps a minute. This movement overtime can cause joint pains, musculoskeletal injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Solution: Use automated devices when possible. Perform tasks in different working positions to avoid continuous and repetitious movement of the same muscle/muscle groups (e.g. alternating hands). Employees should pace themselves, stretch, take breaks, rotate within the job, and combine/eliminate tasks where possible.

Forceful Exertions

  • Problem: Extreme stress caused by an excess use of force can lead to a variety of injuries.
  • Solution: Good form/posture while performing job duties that require some level of force will allow employees to use less force and reduce risk of injury. Lift all objects that require your employees to bend over, with a straight back and bent knees. Your staff can also see where the load is going and plan accordingly on how to handle. Always look for ways to reduce the weight of what needs to be carried by separating what can be separated. Rather spend 2 extra minutes making 2 trips then have back pains for the rest of your life. Use dollies, conveyors, and hoists when applicable. Pushing something on wheels as opposed to carrying, lifting, and carrying can reduce chances of strains and sprains. Place heavy items at mid-thigh height (not just placing heaviest items on the bottom shelf). Be mindful of floor conditions when carrying items that are wobbly, slippery, or warm.

Contact Stress

  • Problem: Sharp or rugged edges/corners appear in restaurants and can cause injuries if not properly addressed
  • Solution: Add padding to sharp or rugged edges to reduce strain and stress on hands. Make sure employees avoid leaning against metal surfaces of these rough edges. Try to round off sharp edges on shelves, tables, and ledges.

Awkward Postures

  • Problem: This is a problem that happens when employees must move quickly in a fast-paced setting or when fundamental safety procedures are not set in place. This can lead to a wide variety of injuries.
  • Solution: Employees should move as close as possible to objects in use to prevent over extension. Face objects that you are working on; you should not twist and reach to the sides of behind the body. Keep elbows as close to the body as possible and use tools to keep wrists straight. Have stepstools available for shorter employees. The more frequent an item is used, the easier it should be to access. [1]

These are just a few ergonomics concerns for restaurants and solutions to some of these problems. Tagrisk Insurance Services’ risk appetite includes but is not limited to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and lounges. Our hospitality insurance programs fill coverage gaps that may exist in your current policies. Do not renew your insurance without a quote from us. Contact Tagrisk Insurance Services for a quote today!

[1] http://memicsafety.typepad.com/memic_safety_blog/2009/12/basic-kitchen-ergonomics.html