Tips To Be A Healthier and Safer Restaurant Employee

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restaurant employee

The lifestyle of a restaurant employee or foodservice worker is hectic. It isn’t a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. scheduled day but rather an intense job where you are constantly on your feet and working odd hours.  In the moment, many don’t take the time to think about their own personal needs. Sure, the job is all about serving others, but you have to keep your own health and sanity as your No. 1 priority in order to do your job well. Here are a few pain points and tips to try to make the work week a little easier on your body.

Invest in a Pair of Quality Slip-Resistant Shoes

Every restaurant employee, if they aren’t required to already, should have a pair of shoes that can get them through each shift. A good pair should provide comfort throughout the day and be slip-resistant to avoid accidents. According to Liberty Mutual’s “From Research to Reality: Slips and Falls in Restaurants,” they included a 2011 study done by the Center for Injury Epidemiology that found that slip resistant shoes reduce the amount of falls by half.

restaurant employee lifting techniqueLearn Proper Lifting Techniques

Restaurant employees will have to lift boxes and other objects at some point or another, if not on a daily basis already. Lifting a heavy object incorrectly can really cause damage to muscles, discs or joints. Before lifting something heavy, if you don’t feel you can do it confidently on your own, have someone help you.  If you can take on the item on your own, below are tips from WebMD to avoid injury:

  1. Keep feet shoulder width apart with one foot a little ahead of the other
  2. Bend with your knees and hips, put one knee to the floor and another in front of you (almost like a lunge)
  3. Keep good posture and keep your back straight, chest out and shoulders back
  4. Take it slow and avoid twisting
  5. Hold the object as close to your body as you can
  6. Change direction with your feet and lead your direction with your hips (think about keeping your shoulders in line with your hips)
  7. When setting your load back down, squat with your knees and hips

Avoid Picking at Foods

Some restaurant employees are allowed to eat the extra food in the back of the house. What can become problemsome is losing track of a couple bites here and there and what seemed like a couple bites was actually a shift-long snack session. The delicious and readily available food in your kitchen might be the quicker or easier solution when in a time crunch and it honestly takes some heavy duty willpower to not take a bite.

“Bring your own healthy snacks or pre-packaged meal to work with you (so you are) less tempted to eat off the menu,” said Dr. Jennifer Wider, women’s health expert, author and radio host. “Also, bring water! Stay hydrated while you’re on your feet.”

restaurant employeeMake the Switch from Soda to Water

At many foodservices, soda is available to restaurant employees at no charge. The only downfall is there are negative effects to both regular and diet soda.  Both types have been linked to health problems such as weight gain, kidney damage, loss of tooth enamel and bone loss.

If you can make the switch to water, give it a try. It won’t be easy and it won’t be overnight. Take it slow and start drinking one less at a time than you normally would.

Many enjoy the caffeine rush a soda brings, which sometimes seems necessary if sluggish during a busy shift, however, there is a crash that happens.  This crash isn’t pleasant in the middle of work.

FitDay said a caffeine crash typically can leave a person feeling worse than they did when they wanted the energy boost to begin with.

“You’ll experience headaches, sleepiness and fatigue during withdrawal. Your body will crave another jolt of caffeine, and you’ll find yourself buying soda again.”

Only at work, it might be free and flowing from a machine just a few steps away.

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