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A recent restaurant risk report published by AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. revealed that coffee shops yield the highest lost employee time by 45 percent in comparison to all other restaurant types. The AmTrust Restaurant Risk Report 2018 showed that the wrist injuries commonly experienced by coffee shop employees – also known as “barista wrist” – resulted in 366 days off work.
Although it may sound made-up to some, barista wrist is very real and accepted by the medical and food service communities as a health risk. Barista wrist is a repetitive stress injury similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, with symptoms including extremity pain, stiffness, throbbing, cramping, weakness and numbness. Left untreated, severe cases may require surgery and up to three months of recovery time off the job.
Barista wrist is just one of the injuries coffee shop employees are at risk of developing. Cafes and restaurants are fast-paced and hectic environments, and there are many other on-the-job hazards. The AmTrust report analyzed nearly 84,000 restaurant workers’ compensation claims, and found that a third of the claims involved scrapes, cuts, and punctures – injuries typically incurred during chopping, peeling, dicing, or encountering broken glass.
Other common food service injuries include burns – from boiling water, fryers or other hot equipment and surfaces, grease spatter, or hot food particles. Restaurant workers also suffer muscle sprains and strains, typically from hauling or lifting heavy goods. Slip and fall accidents are becoming less common, but when they do occur, the injuries can be far more serious and expensive.
And, the more severe an injury – especially injuries that prevent an employee from complying with food safety regulations, like stitches or a cast – the longer an employee has to remain out of work. According to the AmTrust report, the average food service employee takes 30 days to return to work, with the highest number of accidents happening in the summertime.
Coffee shops and restaurants can help their employees by implementing ergonomics-friendly equipment, training baristas to use equipment safely and properly, and conforming to OSHA restaurant standards.
If you’re a barista or food service worker injured on the job, get in touch with the workers’ comp attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman. Get the benefits you deserve. We represent clients in the Wilmington, Seaford, and Newark areas. Call 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form today.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.