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Research Article Open Access
Musculoskeletal disorders have the potential to impact a tremendous number of waitresses and waiters in the United States, yet very little is known about the ergonomic risk factors that these workers routinely encounter. The objective of the study was to document the potential ergonomic stressors that restaurant servers are exposed to during a typical shift. During a typical work shift, the following data was collected on twenty servers from three different restaurants: the weight and frequency of trays transferred as well as postures adopted when serving by direct observation; amount of time sitting, standing and walking by an ActivPal activity device; and workload perception and current discomforts by survey. Observations revealed that servers carried 16.4 kg per hour or 6.3 kg per tray. More than 90% of the servers reported spending between 5 and 8 hours standing during their shift. Objective measures confirmed spending a large amount of time on their feet (76% of time standing or walking). At the end of the shift, the body region with the greatest end of the shift discomfort was the upper back (55%), followed by the neck (45%) and lower back (50%) regions. In all, the current study provides a glimpse into the demands on the servers. All indications were the current results were lower than normal shifts. The bottom line was that the weight of the tray transferred, time spent standing and walking, and the awkward postures adopted by servers increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). However, no direct link to MSDs can be drawn from the current study. In general, while the weight or number of trays served per hour was not particularly high, the load lifted represented a risk to the servers, especially when peak times require many more trays served.
Waitress, Lifting, Standing, Musculoskeletal disorders, Ergonomics