Restaurant Industry Safety & Health - Front of the House

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Woman reaching over a long restaurant table placing napkins down. Caption: Avoid over-reaching across tables or booths. Information for:

  • Hosts/Hostesses.
  • Servers/Wait staff.
  • Bar tenders, Bar staff.
  • Runners, Server assistants.
  • Bussers.
  • Cashiers, Counter service workers.
  • Drive-through attendants.
  • Closeup of a person's hands grabbing a hot bowl off of a counter with a napkin. Caption: Protect your hands while carrying hot plates. Photo courtesy of OSHA.Dining Room Managers/Supervisors.
  • Caterers, Mobile food service workers.

Front-of-the-house food and beverage service workers are on their feet most of the time and often carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and glassware.  Serving food and bussing tables, especially while assuming awkward postures, may lead to back, neck, and shoulder strains and sprains.  Workers in drive-through stations face additional hazards such as vehicle exhaust and loud headset background noise.

Also, during busy dining periods, workers are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently.  Injuries from slips, cuts, and burns often result from hurrying, spilling or touching hot dishes, or mishandling knives, utensils, and sharp tools.

If you also routinely or occasionally perform back-of-the-house tasks when cross-working help is needed, make sure you view that section as well.

More help from L&I

For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.

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