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What are the real job risks for servers and wait staff?

| Jul 20, 2020 | Workplace Injuries |

Working in the hospitality or food and beverage industry can be a relatively straightforward way for someone to support themselves while seeking to learn the necessary skills or complete the education they need for a job with better long-term stability. Servers, bartenders and others who work in similar positions have a number of risks on the job.

For most people, the idea that a server has risk might make some think of people who stiff them and don’t leave tips. While the potential for downturns in income because of bad tipping is a real problem for those who rely on gratuities as a big part of their income, there are other, real-world risks that can leave servers injured and unable to keep working.

What are the biggest risks for those who provide food and beverage customer service?

There are a host of dangerous elements in any restaurant. There can be dangerous machinery, ranging from ovens the slicers. Some restaurants and bars also use potentially dangerous ingredients or chemicals as part of their process. For example, using nitrogen in a host of restaurant applications has recently become trendy. However, nitrogen could cause freezing injuries if used improperly, although that isn’t common. The typical sources of risk are more common and banal.

The leading causes of injury to servers working in customer service include contact with an object or equipment, falls, overexertion, and exposure to harmful substances. Violence, including assaults by customers or coworkers, was also responsible for hundreds of worker injuries and multiple deaths.

Service or waitstaff may need workers’ compensation more than others

People who have long-term careers or who work in a variety of other fields may have more benefits available to help them after a workplace injury than those who work in the food and beverage industry. Servers who get hurt on the job likely can’t do a diminished version of their job and continue working, as even one person operating at half capacity in a busy restaurant can be the difference between successful service and constant issues.

Disability benefits help replace the wages a worker would have earned if they hadn’t gotten hurt. Medical benefits are also crucial, as employers may not provide health care benefits to staff. Staff members may not be able to purchase these benefits for themselves on service wages and tips.

Reporting an accident to your employer as soon as it happens can improve your chances of a successful workers’ compensation claim if you get hurt as a server or other food service worker.

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