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Falls, slips, 'barista wrist' major causes of lost restaurant worker time

Falls, slips, 'barista wrist' major causes of lost restaurant worker time

The restaurant industry is still rife with on-the-job injuries, though some of the nation's new eating and drinking trends are creating whole new categories of ailments. For instance, in coffee houses and cafes nationwide, barista wrist is regularly waylaying employees for more than a year, while falls and wounds from sharp objects are also lending themselves to a lot of lost time on the job. 

An analysis of five years of workers' compensation claims indicates that on average, restaurant workers miss 30 days of work due to such incidents, according to the Restaurant Risk Report from AmTrust Financial Services, the fourth largest comp claims company in the U.S.

The company evaluated 84,006 claims made from 2013 to 2017 from its restaurant restaurant clients to develop the findings, which also include:

  • Cafés/coffee shop employees incurred the most lost time - on average 45 percent more than all other restaurant types.
  • The average lost time due to restaurant injuries varies from less than four days to nearly two months;
  • Wrist injuries were the biggest danger for coffee shop workers, including "barista wrist" with an average of 366 days to return to work. 
  • One-third of claims came from those who'd suffered cuts, punctures or scrapes.
  • Sharp objects were to blame for most claims.
  • Falls and slips incurred 4.5 times more in paid losses ($198.4 million at the company's clients) than cut, puncture or scrape injuries.
  • Highest states for lost restaurant worker time were Vermont, New Jersey, Indiana, Mississippi and Idaho.
  • Lowest states for lost restaurant worker time were Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Wyoming and Washington. 
  • Barbecue restaurants had most days lost for "strains from lifting" with 65.9 days out on average.

"Employee safety is a priority and, in this competitive environment where restaurants are vying for qualified employees, it is difficult when accidents and injuries cause time away from work," AmTrust Workers' Compensation Product Manager Matt Zender, said. "We felt that it was important to identify commons claims across the industry and offer suggestions to help restaurant owners protect their business and employees from work-related accidents.

"Our data supports the increasingly accepted belief that the repetitive stress injury known as 'barista wrist' is a very real condition as wrist injuries accounted for the most days of work missed."

The data also showed restaurant claims increase in the summer, when increased traffic lends restaurants to increase teams roughly four to five percent in June, July and August compared to other months. Similar to past years, July was the highest month for claims in 2017, with 13 percent more claims than an average month.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Fast Casual Executive Summit, Food & Beverage, Human Resources, Insurance / Risk Management, Operations Management, Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, Staffing & Training, Trends / Statistics, Workforce Management

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