From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Serving Up a Pint and Ergonomics at Your Local Pub

It appears pubs aren’t the convivial places for staff that they are for patrons. In fact, a recent study revealed that the time bartenders, servers and kitchen staff spend in the tavern could be hazardous to their health. The study concluded that simple ergonomic measures lessen the risk of injury when staff are serving up suds and finger foods. That’s news patrons can drink to.

The case study of a neighborhood pub in British Columbia, Canada, by researchers at the University of Alberta and Napier University of Scotland was published in the September edition of Applied Ergonomics. It revealed that of all the tasks done in a pub, bartending has the highest potential for injury. Bartenders run a high risk of back problems from lifting beer kegs weighing 160 pounds, as well as shoulder pain from pouring pitchers and from reaching to upper shelves for premium liquor. Servers get aches and pains from lifting trays and stooping over tables of customers. Cooks are also prone to back injuries when retrieving bulk staples like onions and gravy from the cooler. Repetitive lifting of heavy loads in constrained spaces such as cramped kitchens and storerooms was a main culprit.

The Canadian-Scottish study recommended several ergonomic changes for the pub, including reducing the height of the bar, installing a slip-free perforated floor behind the bar, using higher tables for customers, better organizing the cooler and using a dolly to move heavy loads.

Measures like these lessen the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), the term used to group many of the ailments described by the pub workers. The Ergonomics Report