Waiters at restaurants have difficult jobs balancing the needs of their customers with their own safety and comfort. Servers are often expected to carry heavy loads and loose items on trays which can result in spills and injuries to the waiter. They also are forced into awkward body postures and positions which increases stress on the body and leads to fatigue, discomfort and increases risk of injury.
Unfortunately this task of carrying trays is unavoidable for many waiters. Waiters must find a way to comfortably carry trays with large amounts of food and drinks in order to keep their jobs. However, while they can’t avoid carrying trays of heavy items, most waiters could benefit from tips to reduce risk and improve posture while carrying large loads.
Simply being aware of the ergonomics involved in carrying large trays can help servers avoid potential injury. Being aware of your posture and how you are carrying a tray can make a huge difference and save you from potentially disastrous injuries. Unnatural and awkward body positions might not bother servers immediately but they can cause long-term problems and also increase the risk of immediate injuries like slips and trips.
Ergonomics For Servers / Waiters / Bartenders Carrying Trays
Here are a few tips for servers carrying trays and large loads:
- Alternate hands used to carry items and large trays
- Balance the load on the tray before carrying it
- Carry the tray as close to the body as possible
- Carry a loaded tray with your shoulder, arm, and hand in a neutral position
- Carry trays with a straight wrist and do not bend it
- Balance the tray on both your arm and hand.
- Support the weight of the tray on the hand and forearm not the wrist
- Keep your upper arm vertical while carrying a tray
- Balance the load and place heavy items close to the center
- Make sure the tray is clean and dry before loading it up
- Carry fewer plates and items at once and make multiple trips if needed
- Bend at the knees when lowering and removing items rather than using your back
- Don’t lift anything that is too heavy for you – lighten the load first
Those are a few basic ways servers can better carry trays of food and drink while also reducing risk of discomfort and injury.
Carrying trays in a safe manner can help prevent workplace accidents and long term problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and repetitive strain injuries that will require things like wearing wrist braces and possibly having surgery. Prevention is always the best medicine so be careful when you’re working and put your body first!